My thoughts are turning to next week's Thanksgiving celebration, and to which favorite dishes I might prepare, or someone else might. One thing is sure: those of us working in the kitchen sample the food as we work. Anticipation is part of the celebration, and we take a foretaste of the feast to come.
Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is said to be a foretaste of the heavenly feast. As we come together, as we remember Jesus, we have one watchful eye turned toward the feast to come: the table and the gathering guests and the festive preparations. The wait is so long. We gather for a foretaste now, and next week, and again the week after ... like we did the week before, back for our lifetimes. The wait lasted through our parents' lifetimes, our grandparents', back into generations where the names are dim memories. The great saints of prior ages took the same foretaste as we do; we are joining them. The chain goes back unbroken to that upper room that Passover long ago: our Lord, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread and gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them all. He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them all, and said he would not partake again until the kingdom of God had come.
The Lord has been gone a long time. It is tempting to adapt the Jewish Passover refrain: "Next year, in the Kingdom!" It is hard for us to imagine "forever", a kingdom which never ends, and never fails. It is hard for us to understand "eternity" in a way that is possible for God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal. I think we can get a glimpse of the feast to come, and the depth of time in "eternity", when we realize how many lifetimes have come and gone in the time that it takes for preparation.
May I remember to anticipate, and not grow tired of waiting. Anticipation is how the joy of that celebration is drawn forward to brighten the holidays, so that they are not just a day but a season.