Advent : Waiting for a Baby

“December 20… or maybe December 23,” my midwife told me as she studied the grainy photos from my ultrasound. I was thrilled to see “pictures” of a happy, healthy baby and felt more and more aware of the fact that there was a tiny person growing inside of me. Given my end of the year due date, I have been thinking about Christmas since about April of this year. So often we read the Christmas story, and we share the scene of the angel telling Mary she will give birth to the Christ child. Ten minutes later, we’re swaddling baby Jesus and lying him in a manger.

This year I’ve been sitting with Mary – waiting, hoping, worrying…. expecting. For the first time, I literally thought about the fact that she was pregnant for months, carrying Jesus. In this Advent season, I can’t think of anything that has required so much waiting from me as pregnancy has. I have tended to make major life changes suddenly and rarely wait on much. But this situation I cannot control, and as much as I keep asking my baby to come early … he or she has a little mind all its own.

So what do I do while I’m waiting? So often, I find myself turning to distraction… holiday parties, wandering through stores (often buying things for the baby as if choosing the perfect receiving blanket will encourage it to hurry on out and be received), or simply trying to forget time with activities and TV.

I have noticed signs of active waiting through preparation. We cleaned the carpets and set up the nursery. We rearranged to make space for the expected house guests that will arrive along with the baby. We’ve preregistered at the hospital and packed (sort of) our bag for the big day. We’ve taken classes to learn more about childbirth and child rearing in hopes of having some inkling of a clue in the moments ahead.

Yet I still find it difficult to dwell in expectation. I find myself wishing the next few weeks away and anxiously anticipating the future. At the same time, I have made conscious efforts to appreciate my husband and my spontaneous decision to see a movie one evening, knowing those outings may not happen (at least on a whim without prior planning) for this next season of our lives. I am trying to take advantage of days with time to myself and spend moments of waiting sitting with my Lord.

How are we actively preparing for the arrival of the Christ child this Christmas? How do we dwell in expectation for the remembrance of this past coming and the one that is yet to come? Do we rely on distraction to keep us from noticing the time? Wrapped up in the busyness of the holidays or our lives in general, do we let time pass without ever really preparing our hearts for our beloved? How can we be fully present and active in our season of expectation?

I feel challenged to evaluate the way I spend my time… seeking not to just hurriedly watch it pass, but to enjoy moments of God’s manifestation in this finite world. I am reminded to spend time with my Lord, preparing a space in my heart both in this Christmas season and in a life expecting a coming King. I want to truly notice my priorities and seek to make sure they are in order, knowing that any moment Christ could return and my world radically changed.

May your experience this Christmas season increase your ability to wait in expectation.

May you grow in silence and in preparation as we anticipate the arrival of the Christ child.

Continue in this Advent series: Peace in Pain.

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