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The Journey {Advent}

Last year, I wrote a post entitled Crowded Christmas, and I have thought about it frequently over the last year. Since I typically write an Advent series in preparation for Christmas, I thought this year I'd experiment with a fictionalized interpretation based on the ideas of a crowded Christmas. Please read it with a gracious imagination as it is not intended to be a strictly Biblical account. Enjoy!

Image credit: KayVee.INC

Family road trips always sound fun at the start, right? Well, ours was no different. A census had been announced, and we needed to return to Bethlehem, the home of our ancestor David. It wasn’t long before the women were preparing food and packing bags while men readied the donkeys.

I was already quite pregnant when we started out, back when the children still thought the trip would be a wonderful adventure. Now the young cousins take turns being carried, riding on the donkeys, and running around taunting each other. I am grateful for the distraction children offer. Fantastic stories, elaborate games, and impressive fascination at the smallest details.

It is hard to believe I am going to have a child. But then the angel said the baby would be the Christ child. It’s a prophecy too great to understand. 

As we plod along on this journey, I ride the donkey for the most part. But the seat doesn’t shield me from hearing… or seeing. Joseph’s aunt is skeptical about the baby. And she doesn’t mind saying so. She huddles with her sisters and whispers about me. She scowls at Joseph.

Joseph’s cousins are uncertain. They check in on me and bring me water, but their eyes shift nervously as they scurry away again. Oh, how I wish Elizabeth were here with me! They try to be supportive, but she is certain. Elizabeth has heard the same word from God, and she is 100% joyful about this baby.

I rub my belly and glance at Joseph. And I am grateful for him. He, too, is a bit uncertain and confused, but he is faithful. He believes his God, and God told him to believe me. So he stands beside me among the whispers and he never waivers. God bless him.

This trip has worn me out. Never mind the physical exhaustion, traveling so many days. But camping in close quarters, the family pushed together without the typical rhythms of daily life… well, that is tiring in its own way. We are all eager to arrive.

Waiting is hard. Waiting for the Christ child is hard. If this baby truly brings the promised peace and freedom… well, the anticipation is overwhelming. But other thoughts pull at my mind, too. What if I am wrong? What if too much hope has been placed on this baby? What if he’s not the Christ child and I am disappointed? What if his birth only brings isolation and pain? Waiting in the no knowing is hard, too.

So I focus on the children. They are too young to question my behavior or worry about the future. They simply enjoy the wonder of a baby growing inside my belly. They press their hands to feel him kick. They sing him songs and imagine the games they will teach when he is old enough. They teach me how to wait.

All posts in this year's Advent series:
1. The Journey
2. The Stable
3. The Birth
4. The Visitors

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