Joyful Anticipation

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As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.

What do you anticipate this coming year? Do you create New Year’s Resolutions? Do they normally work well for you?

This year is full of possibility. This is something I love and dislike about new beginnings. To some extent, the sky's the limit, if you choose to take to the skies. However, most of us stick to what is comfortable and safe and secure.

When the new calendar year starts, we see the next 12 months similarly to how I see a new school year. We’ve had some prep time throughout the Christmas season (summer, for school), going over Jesus’ birth, the miracle of his conception, the visit of the shepherds, the wise men, etc. We get to the New Year, and then we start to get a feel for it (and the students in the classroom) and how we want to start it off. We start out with one idea and then see how it reshapes as the year continues (a classroom is quite a fluid setting).

While New Year’s resolutions can be good, they often don’t end the way we think when we first started them. We get caught up in life, forget about them, feel bad about forgetting them, start up again for about a week or two, and then get caught up in the day-to-day, forget, feel bad, start up, and the cycle continues.

What if this year, instead of changing routine, adding or taking away something, instead your resolution was to joyfully anticipate?

My guess is the next question would be, “Of what? What am I, or should I, be joyfully anticipating?” The fun part? It’s different for everyone. What if you are joyfully anticipating the next time you get to see a good friend, so you schedule that coffee time and intentionally be present? What if you are joyfully anticipating a relaxing week, knowing that a busy season is going to hit, but have some time to relax and thrive in self-care so that you are ready when busyness is the mode of life? What if you are joyfully anticipating learning how to make your child laugh because you were once again hit with how beautiful their laugh is? What if you are joyfully anticipating a new chapter in your life, whether that be graduating college, starting a new job, becoming engaged, married, welcoming a new baby, shooing the last kid out the door, finding yourself in mid-life crisis mode, or embracing retirement?

This year, I anticipate seeing the friendships that form and the ones that become stronger. I joyfully anticipate career challenges because it is through those challenges that I learn and grow and become a better teacher. I anticipate moments when I can step outside of my comfortable space, and truly engage in the world around me, even if that means saying, “Hello, what a bunch of snow is out there today!” to the person beside me in the coffee shop or waiting outside of the drug store. I anticipate seeing friends grow in their jobs, personal lives, and church participation. I anticipate how God is going to challenge me to think outside my safe box and push my limits so I realize just how vast he is. I anticipate how each day God reveals more of himself through others and his word, if I just take some time to listen and be present.

What do you anticipate? I hope this year is full of anticipation for you too. To seize moments, enjoy the here and now, and anticipate, joyfully, how and where God leads you in these next 365 days. Make a list; check off the things that occur, and pray for the ones that have yet to show up. Practice living in the present; anticipate what each day brings; live out God’s love loudly. It is so needed.

About the Author

Fayth Kuipers is a fourth-grade teacher in Lacombe, Alta., Canada. She attends Woody Nook CRC in Blackfalds, Alta.