Thursday, December 15, 2016

Coming Baby, Coming Lord

A sweet friend recently sent me this Word encouragement in this time I'm in, 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." - John 16:20-22
Recently, my motto, meditation, and nearly every breath has been partnered with the words "Lord, help me. Lord bring this baby soon. Lord allow it to come. Lord, deliver me from this." I know, I might be being a bit dramatic, but people, it's where I'm at. And I question if this isn't most women's late pregnancy thoughts.

I realized that this refrain is very fitting for the Advent season. 

While my focus is on the coming of a baby, and not directly spiritually related, I began to wonder were those Mary's meditations prior to her travel, "Lord, I don't want to have your Son on the road... please let him come now!" Or did she know she needed to get to Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy? Were her words instead, "Oh Lord, please help me, sustain me while we travel... keep this baby from coming before your appointed time?" But, both held the anticipation or expectancy of the COMING of the incarnate Rescuer. They just held a different focus and perspective.

Aren't we, as Christians, really to be about both of these prayers as we look to the coming of our Lord? 

"Come, Lord Jesus, come!" we pray, meditate and say with every breath... and yet we also say, "Lord, please help us as we wait, sustain us until your appointed time of coming," because we know that none know the hour or time and the Lord's delay is a delay of mercy for those who are lost.

In our home we are focused on really one singular thing... readiness. It's nearly my obsession. Boxes have arrived filled to overflowing with (not Christmas presents) but will all manner of medical supplies, I've cleaned my room and bathroom and sanitized my tub more than is humanly possible, we all get our laundry done promptly so it's not backed up, we attempt to keep a full fridge (which is hard around here) and we keep things spotless and clean in anticipation for a small guest's arrival. Oddly, this guest could really care less how clean our house is or if we have the car seat installed yet, and would make it's self quite at home with a swaddle blanket, diaper and a warm chest to nuzzle on. But, we make ourselves ready... because we know the time is drawing close... not because we think we can actually, really, ever "be ready" on our own. 

We look for signs and are aware of current events. Tim will ask each morning, "How are you feeling today? What happened with you last night?" I google random things like "is a backache a sign of labor?" or read articles entitled "Signs of Labor You Shouldn't Ignore..." When signs of labor persist, then delay... We lament and rejoice. I look forward to the pain of labor knowing it will be of little consequence to the good I'll receive in the gift of a child.  My sorrow is present when some days I think, "How will I ever make it to the end... its so far away???" and dissolve into tears ... then an hour later I think "He (or she) is coming soon... it's not that far away!" As people of faith when we feel anguish and sorrow and the ever present prodromal labors that tire us and wear us down, at the struggle of sin and of the earth... yet at the very same time we know it's in preparation for a greater glory... its the glory of a joy that NO one can ever take away from us! In that we rejoice.

When baby does arrive we won't be thinking that we made it happen... it will just happen all of a sudden... when the time is fully done. 

Advent is a time of waiting... a time of expectations... and a time of entering in to both sorrow and rejoicing. It's a sweet time and also a time of struggle. Perhaps this is what is meant when we read, "Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." At it's core Advent is a time all about treasuring and pondering. 

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