As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. -Micah 7:7 (NLT)

We went to Target over the weekend to get supplies for our annual Great Pumpkin Party. Target is moving on past Halloween and is ready for other holidays. One in particular that focuses on wrapping paper and the colors red and green. You can imagine how this made me feel.

I will let you in on a little secret, though: I have already started thinking about Christmas. A little. Not in the I-can’t-wait-to-decorate sense or in the my-shopping-is-already-done sense. It’s just that I don’t normally even start considering that the holiday is approaching until much later. This year, though, with Atticus due just after the New Year, it’s hard to avoid thinking about the things that are coming, including the Advent and Christmas seasons. Although I know that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born at the end of December, I have thought about Mary a lot over the past few months as my aches and pains and discomfort have increased, about the sheer physicality of pregnancy and what it means that this is the way that Jesus came into the world. (I admit that these are not particularly original thoughts, but they are what they are, despite the many pregnant women I have shared them with and who will share them in the future.) I even told one of our ministers that I would be liturgist during December, but only if the passage was about Mary. And I could say “great with child.” I feel that I could bring an extra level of authenticity to that particular turn of phrase. He pointed out that while laughing with people is nice, the congregation would probably enjoy laughing at me even more.

I have not been very good at being an expectant mother. My body has had very few problems: I only threw up once, I haven’t had leg cramps, and I never really had any heartburn, so I shouldn’t complain. But I don’t like it. I have been focused on the now: the pain in my legs and back, the humiliating comments that people have made about my size, and the fact that my fingers are about to stop accommodating my rings. I am not good at waiting expectantly for God, either. I pray about things for other people, but not for myself. I focus on the now, trying to survive the day and to make the best of what we have been given. My heart has been broken too many times, and I am not ready to wait confidently on God or to believe that he will hear me. There are things I hope for myself, for our family, for Atticus, but I am afraid to take them to God, afraid that he will, once again, ignore the things that are most important to me. I see what is happening now rather than being able to believe, hope, wait for . . . more. For change.

Advent is the season when I feel most expectant. We take the time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus, for our celebration of his birth. We put up a tree and sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and bake cookies. This year, relating to Mary’s journey will add another level to that preparation and celebration. It’s not that every kick will turn into a holy reminder of God-made-flesh, and that I will suddenly stop being cranky about my discomfort. Just that it helps me to remember that this is a holy process, that I believe in a God who gets down in the dirt with us. Who, the Bible tells me, is asking me to wait expectantly, believing that he is listening and willing to answer. Whether I like and understand how things are going or not.

No Trackbacks