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Advent is a season of waiting. The whole world seems to hold it’s breath in anticipation of the birth of our Savior, preparing for the holy night with decorations, parties, gifts, baking, and family gatherings. We put up Christmas trees and lights, make special treats, and shop for the gifts we hope will thrill our loved ones. This year, in the middle of all these preparations and celebrations, Rick and I wait for a child of our own. Advent seems like a very fitting parallel to our time of waiting.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been more full of expectation and hope – waiting for pain. As Braxton Hicks contractions begin again this evening, I wait to see if they will increase in intensity. Will there finally be pain with them this time?

It’s interesting to me that the thing I feared for so long during this pregnancy, the pain of labor and delivery, has become the thing I most want (sort of…). I certainly hope that it’s pain I can tolerate well. I’ve done all I know to do to prepare myself for the big event; but it is pain that I’m looking forward to, nonetheless.

Mary was a young girl who had ridden a donkey for miles, guided by a husband she had not been intimate with. She didn’t have her mother or sister with her when she went into labor. She had no place to go to give birth to her child. (It puts into perspective my feelings about the few things I have left undone in the nursery!) When they finally settled into a bed for the night, it was in a dirty stable, a barn, with animals and hay. There were no fetal monitors or nurses to attend to her. She didn’t have an epidural, a spinal, or even a Tylenol. She gave birth to Jesus, laid herself bare, with this man who had never touched her.

Yet Mary knew that the child in her womb was the Son of God. How must that have felt? She knew that the pain she endured, the lack of facilities, the lack of even a crib or bassinet, was all a part of how God was choosing to bring His child into the world. Did she feel the arms of God wrapped around her as she labored? Did she feel that tremendous sense of peace that only comes through His presence? Did she long for delivery in the same way I long for it? Oh, just to meet this child and see that sweet face? And how much more, knowing she was looking at the greatest miracle of all?

These thoughts are tugging at my mind as I wait for my own little miracle. The questions about if we’ll make it to the hospital on time or if I’ll have all the things I “need” with me when the time comes seem to lose their edge in light of what she went through. Come quickly, sweet baby. We are really looking forward to meeting you and holding you in our arms.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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