Advent is my favorite season in the church calendar. It’s the best kind of “almost, but not-yet” hopeful anticipation that comes with knowing that something amazing awaits us at the end of the journey. Beautiful antiphons of “Gloria” are intertwined into worship, giving us a preview of the joy-filled carols we will sing with abandon in just a few weeks time. But not yet, not just yet. Because in Advent, we wait.
and with hope.
And we wait for none other than a baby.
Sure, it is a very special baby; it’s the birth of the Christ-child, God with us, Immanuel. But, still, we wait for a baby.
Sitting in worship today, on the first Sunday of Advent with hues of purple reminding us of the new church year, I could not hold back my tears.
Because it hit me in an all new way, because it hit me afresh once again, that during Advent, we wait for a baby… and this year, I have done a lot of that.
I share this because I believe although our faith is personal, it is not private, and because I believe there is some healing in the sharing of stories.
See, for the past year, Mike & I have been waiting in hopeful expectation for a baby. We finally felt we were ready to grow our family and to share our love with a little one.
For some folks, it’s as simple as that- you’re ready, so it happens. But we are not those folks.
It has taken a year and several trips to the doctor to figure out how my body works and how to get pregnant. As it turns out, I have a micro-adenoma on my pituitary gland causing the over-production of a hormone and preventing pregnancy.
But modern medicine & medication got that hormone back to normal levels, and earlier this year, we were thrilled to get a positive pregnancy test! We treasured this good news in our hearts, holding it close until we were ready to share it with the world.
But then, we miscarried.
And so we continue to wait. We continue to wait for a baby.
It is a heartbreaking moment when you realize that your plans and hopes will have to remain just that, plans and hopes, and that the way you envisioned them becoming fulfilled will never come to pass.
And it not always so easy to have to wait.
But during this season, we are joined by the faithful of every time and place who also wait for a baby. Sometimes, waiting together makes the waiting easier.
And this baby, who we wait for together, has made us whole and healed and fully redeemed.
And today, that is enough. Whether our family welcomes many children or no children, we will always welcome the Christ-child, or perhaps, more aptly, the Christ-child will always welcome us. And today, that is enough.
Because this baby that was born in a manger over 2000 years ago, belongs to all of us and gives life to us all.
So today, hope catches a glimmer of that Advent light and reflects it back into the world.
And together, we wait for a baby.