Advent is upon us! The season of waiting, where we groan under the weight of anticipation of Christ coming at Christmas… it’s my favorite of all the church seasons. (Maybe a pastor isn’t supposed to have favorites? But I do.)
When I was little, I loved hearing the stories of Mary and Elizabeth, miraculously pregnant and awaiting the birth of babies whose lives had been foretold by prophets. I wondered what it would be like to be them, to know that they were going to give birth to someone so important, and to wait with that knowledge.
When I got older, I started to imagine what it would be like to be pregnant myself—and a part of me always hoped that I would be pregnant during Advent, so that I could hear those stories again and share—if even just a little bit—in the marvel of awaiting a birth.
When we found out we were going to have a baby, I forgot about Advent in the excitement of just being pregnant. We had an early miscarriage scare, so each week that passed, I was grateful to still be pregnant. I loved learning about how Adeline’s little body was developing and I was excited as my silhouette slowly changed shape.
With over a month left until our due date, we were just starting to get things in order for a baby. To tell the truth, I don’t think I had totally comprehended that pregnancy ends with a newborn! So when we went into labor 5 weeks early, I wasn’t ready. We had no crib, no diapers, and most of all, no space in my imagination for a baby.
We weren’t ready.
It makes me wonder about Advent… after all, we had the better part of a year to get ready for Adeline, and she still took us by surprise. As we enter Advent, waiting and anticipating the birth of Christ, can we really be ready? As much as we talk about God-with-us, God born as a human baby, God incarnate, can we really understand what is about to happen?
I think it’s beyond us. I think we have to live it to know it. So as we enter Advent, I’m grateful to follow a God who knows our limitations—who knows that we cannot comprehend that kind of love without seeing it and feeling it and touching it—a God who chooses to be known in a person, Jesus, and in people: the body of Christ.
So this Advent, as we wait for God, as we cry out for God to come to us, to rescue us, to rend the heavens and come down, we can trust that God will. God has. And we won’t be ready.
Intern Pastor Bitta