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The Before Is Coming


In the beginning was the Word.

The Word became flesh.

God with us.

Emmanuel.


According to etymology.com, the verb anticipate means,


1530s, "to cause to happen sooner," a back-formation from anticipation, or else from Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare "take (care of) ahead of time," literally "taking into possession beforehand," from anti, an old form of ante "before" (from PIE root *ant- "front, forehead," with derivatives meaning "in front of, before") + capere "to take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp") . . . "prevent or preclude by prior action" (c. 1600) and "be aware of (something) coming at a future time" (1640s). Used in the sense of "expect, look forward to" since 1749, but anticipate has an element of "prepare for, forestall" that, etymologically, should prevent its being used as a synonym for expect.


Considering this season of advent, which comes from the Latin 'ad-' (to, near, at) + 'venire' (to come), we receive a word, a representation that reminds us we are near to what is coming -- we are called to anticipate the arrival of The Christ. We anticipate what has been determined to take place; what has already taken place.


To anticipate is to pay attention. Attend in the waiting. Trust in the coming. Foresee. Hope. Delight. Light. The full force of the mind set still, yet forward.


The heart beats with anticipation for the swollen lungs to share new air. The blood flows red, revealing the unsaid miracle that the anticipation was not in vain — the oxygen runs through the orchestrated veins — the symphony plays on as the organs join in the chorus. The Breath is here. Work is to be done.


The outer limbs and the mind chime in, flowing in the song of life. Anticipating another Breath. The Breath that fuels the heart. The heart that fuels the breath. The anticipation realized. Delight. Light. Life.


Mary touched the Word. She grasped the Before in the folds of her arms. Flesh.


And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

- Matthew 2:11




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