What makes Jonas feel excited and nervous is the forthcoming Ceremony in December. The first sentence of The Giver alerts the reader that it’s "almost December," which means the Ceremony is near. Jonas struggles with how to describe his feelings about the impending event. At first, he uses the word frightened. However, he quickly realizes frightened is the wrong word. Frightened means something terrible is about to occur; it signifies a deep, sickening feeling. Such feelings don’t accurately reflect Jonas's feelings.
Later on in chapter 1, as Jonas bikes home, he hits on two accurate words to describe his feelings. The first word is eager. Jonas is eager for the Ceremony to take place. It appears as if eager and excited have a similar meaning. After announcing his eagerness, Lois Lowry writes, “And he was excited, certainly.” Lowry then says every Eleven was “excited about the event.”
In the paragraph that follows the mention of excitement, Lowry touches on Jonas’s nervousness. As Jonas thinks about the Ceremony, he feels “a little shudder of nervousness.” Although, it might be more precise to say that Jonas feels excited and apprehensive. Jonas seems to prefer apprehensive to nervous. Lowry writes, “Apprehensive, Jonas decided. That’s what I am."