As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve become a vinyl bore of late and have found myself wiling away my precious spare time in basement record shops in Glasgow looking for second hand LPs.
For me it’s more than just the music, it’s the hunt … it’s the search for the next record to add to my collection … an unheard progressive rock or jazz-fusion delight, for example.
It would be two-dimensional of me to talk about record hunting solely in terms of the material, for me it is also about the excitement of anticipation … of expectancy. Between the finding and the playing comes the exciting feeling of mystery and wonder … will the record deliver? … will it be on a par with others by the band?
It’s the same feeling I get when I put a roll or two of 35mm film into ASDA to get developed … in the no-man’s-land between thought, action and result sits the space for anticipation. I wait expectantly, quietly excited, hoping the photos aren’t a complete bust … and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised with the results.
I think one of the things we’ve lost … or at least have seen diminish as we transfer to a digital life is our loss of anticipation. Everything is instantaneous … there is no gap between thought, action and result.
I can hear an album when it’s released on Rdio or Spotify. I can buy it on iTunes and, depending on my Internet connection, I can have it at my fingertips within minutes of the purchase.
The same goes for eBooks – I can browse on Amazon, see something that interests me to read and it can be on my Kindle within seconds.
Films too … albeit they take longer to download … and only appear in iTunes or on Sky or Netflix after their initial run in the cinema.
These are the legitimate sources.
With illegal torrent sites like Pirate Bay, I don’t even need to wait until I can afford to buy the album or book or a cinema ticket … or even wait for the item to be released in the first place.
Everything is at my fingertips … available in an instant. All the choice but with none of the excitement.
The period of Advent is different. It is an exercise in waiting, one that teaches us to be patient. The coming of the Messiah was foretold hundreds of years before the actual event, and those who earnestly waited knew what it was to be patient … a level of patience we have lost.
Consider the responses of Simeon when Jesus is taken to the Temple to be circumcised:
“With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation.” – Simeon
Simeon was living in a perpetual state of expectancy … waiting for the deliverance of the Jews … and he was amazed to actually see the result.
So too was Anna, the prophetess … who, it is said, broke into an anthem of praise to God when she saw Jesus and talked about Him to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
As Christmas rapidly approaches, what are we waiting expectantly on? Do we have the same sense of anticipation as Simeon and Anna did? Or have we lost something in our always-on, instantaneous culture … lost the excitement that comes with waiting?
When you feel the excitement of Christmas morning and taste the anticipation before you go to unwrap a gift or two … take a moment to consider the folks who came into contact with Jesus … the ultimate present to humanity … a gift so wonderfully generous that not one of us could ever claim to be worthy of it. Think of the Shepherds or the Magi or even Joseph & Mary … here was the one prophesied, in flesh & blood. Their anticipation was realised, their waiting rewarded … they saw the result.
I hope your Christmas is a wondrous time, filled with the excitement of a new realisation of God in all His glory.