Advent: A Season of Expectancy
(through the eyes of an expectant mother)
He is coming. He really is. I have to keep reminding myself. Others faithfully remind me. He WILL come!
I long to see him. To snuggle him in my arms. To smell that sweet “baby smell” while kissing the top of his velvety soft head. To feel his tiny fingers wrap themselves around one of mine. I long to see my husband hold his son. To witness my daughter meeting her little brother for the first time. I long to be home together as a family of four. (And let’s be honest… I long to be able to see my toes, roll out of bed, and fit into my clothes again.)
I thought it was time. I really did! Contractions were 3 – 4 minutes apart and lasting a minute and a half each. My palms were sweaty and I felt sick to my stomach during each wave of contractions. Wrapped in my favorite afghan, I paced the house, dark except for the lights on our Christmas tree. Outside, thick clouds hid the rising sun and brought a mixture of sleet and rain.
Surely it was time. Preparations had been made. My body had certainly been preparing. Contractions had started and stopped many times over the past weeks. 7 minutes apart. Stop. 5 minutes apart. Stop. This bout of contractions followed a day and a half of contractions. A week before I had already measured 2cm dilated. Surely this week of contractions had prepared my body that much more for the arrival of my son.
The carseat was installed. Our packed bags were loaded in the car. My parents came over immediately to stay with Elsie. So I made made my way to the car, shuffling my feet across the slushy driveway, leaning on the strong arm of my husband, my partner, my support.
It wasn’t time. Wearing a lovely hospital gown, hooked up to a couple monitors, and answering a zillion questions asked by the nurse in the labor & delivery triage room, my contractions slowed. I hadn’t even dilated any more since my last appointment the week before. “Are you anxious? Your blood pressure is a little high.” Yes, maybe I am little anxious, thank you very much. I just ran out the door, drove through a wintry mix, and checked into the hospital thinking I’m in labor, and here you are about to send me home. Just a guess, but I’m thinking any one of those things could have contributed to the higher blood pressure.
We were sent away. Told to eat something, walk, and go to my scheduled doctor’s appointment that afternoon. I’m not quite sure how to describe the disappointment I felt at that point. My heart sank. And I felt silly. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Had I made the whole thing up? I had thought this was it. I had wanted this to be it. I just wanted to meet my baby so badly. Don’t make me wait any longer! Don’t send me away.
But we left. We ate. We walked a few stores. And we went to my doctor’s appointment where it was confirmed that I wasn’t truly in labor yet. It was disappointing, yes. But believe it or not, it ended up being a really good day. I got to spend an entirely unexpected day with Jonathan. He was so sweet with me. So caring and protective. So comforting in my physical discomfort and my emotional disappointment. We talked and laughed. We had a day-long date.
And you know what, he will come. My baby will be born within the next week or two. (And I won’t be pregnant forever!)
A Season of Expectancy
How fitting it is that these final weeks of pregnancy are during this season of Advent.
Advent: the Coming.
Advent… a season when we remember with expectancy, hope, and longing the arrival of another Baby Boy. The sure coming of a Baby promised centuries before. A Baby that would change everything. A Savior awaited by every generation since He was promised to mankind when sin entered the world soon after its creation.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Imagine. Tens, then hundreds, then thousands of years passed. Generations of believers awaited the fulfillment of a promise made by a Faithful, Loving God. They continued to trust Him. He had proven time and again that His Word was sure. The coming of the Savior was certain. But how long was that wait! He will come, they reminded themselves, reminded eachother. So they waited.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
And He came.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:8-19)
And again we wait.
During this season of Advent, we not only look back to the first coming of Jesus, but we look forward to His return.
So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)
Once again, tens, hundreds, and now thousands of years have passed. Generations of believers continue to await the fulfillment of another promise made by a Faithful, Loving God. We continue to trust Him who has proven time and again that His Word is sure. The return of our Savior is certain.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
He is coming. He really is. Let us keep reminding ourselves and faithfully remind eachother: He WILL come!
He who testifies these things says, “Surely I come quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
And so we wait.
I curl up with a cup of tea, listening to familiar carols, enjoying the glow of the lights on our tree. Christmas, what a sweet time of celebrating our Savior’s advent and looking forward to His return. My swollen abdomen tightens now and then with a contraction, and I feel the little body within squirm and kick. I roll my shoulders to ease the tension in my back and stand to stretch my sore legs and aching hips, but smile as I see my stomach roll back and forth. I feel a sharp jab and reach down to feel his foot? his knee? his back? Such a miracle. I long to meet him, yes. This wait is long and uncomfortable. And yet his coming is sure.
Remember, friends, HIS coming is sure!
Even so, come.