Thursday, December 5, 2013


From the Latin, Adventus, which signifies a coming, Advent is that time of the year when the Church prepares for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. I have always enjoyed this season of preparation. As a child, I loved lighting the candles at dinner time, and I remember a year or two when my mom gave us Advent calendars with little chocolates behind each door. In most of my years, the waiting was full of anticipation and was fun.

Last year was a different kind of waiting. I have discovered that there is the "can't wait!" kind of waiting and then the "when will this ever happen" kind. Last year, we were in the middle of the latter. Our home study was active and we had been presented with dozens of situations, had applied to about half, and had been summarily rejected. So, waiting took on a completely different meaning. Our expectation was to be matched with a birth mom about 2-3 months before her due date (as was the practice at our agency), and then the former kind of waiting would begin.

And yet, as is often the case, contrary to what we thought (read "carefully planned"), we were notified with no time to spare. I was outside hanging Christmas lights, and Peter was out of state on a business trip. I came in the house and noticed a missed call from the agency. When I called back, they informed me of a born baby girl not yet a day old, healthy, and "I'm bringing profiles to the hospital now, do you want to submit?" Short version - yes.

That was around noon on the 12th of December. We didn't hear anything for the rest of the afternoon or evening, so we assumed that another family had been chosen. It wasn't the first time, so we knew the drill. Around 10:15 that night, my husband called from his hotel (did I mention that he was out of state?) to tell me the agency had contacted him (he was the 2nd contact; I was supposed to be the first) and said they had been trying to reach me all day! (For the record, AT&T did give me a credit once they found out that their service had almost cost me a daughter). Around 10:20pm that night we heard the words "congratulations and Merry Christmas - you're parents!" (or something like's all fuzzy now...but I do remember I was in the kitchen).  What a whirlwind! We spent the night making travel and contingency plans, and flew out the next day! Best. Christmas. Ever.

All of this to say that my husband and I are no strangers to waiting (we waited years before we even met and married!). But, waiting takes on a different meaning as life unfolds. And, this year, as I think about what it means to wait for the Messiah, I remember this time last year when we didn't know that soon we would have a baby (most people know for 9 months, but I've never been good about doing things the normal way). :)

Our lives changed in moments. One moment I was hanging Christmas lights, running a choir rehearsal, playing an Advent service, and talking to my husband on the phone. The next moment, I was a mom. Wow. And, as all new mothers know, no matter how prepared we think we are, we aren't.

For Christians, waiting for the Messiah during Advent has a second, and even more important, meaning. In a sense, we are still waiting, for our Messiah did come, but when He left, He promised to come back. And, if we believe His words, we don't know when He will return. I, for one, know I need to be more prepared for Him than I was for my daughter, because there won't be time to make plans once that moment arrives.

All trials shall be like a dream that is past,
     Forgotten all trouble and mourning.
All questions and doubts have been answered at last,
     When rises the light of that morning.

The heavens shall ring with an anthem more grand
     Than ever on earth was recorded.
The blest of the Lord shall receive at His hand
     The crown to the victors awarded.

(Magnus Brostrup Landstad, 1802-80; tr. Peer O. Str ├Âmme, 1856-1921, adapt.)

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