It is a Sunday morning, the first Sunday in Advent, in fact, and I am allowing myself to lazily and slowly come to consciousness. My mind is not racing with all the services that need to be planned, the volunteers that need to be recruited, the youth group events that need to be coordinated... I'm just thinking about finding our home Advent wreath and getting it on the table, and having friends over tonight as my family always did on weekends in Advent, and making chex mix with my sister (another weekly Advent tradition in my childhood home). I'll go to one of two worship services today, the one that is likely to be more Adventish. And I'll do my best to rest and or prepare the home for the season...
... and the baby.
For the lack of parish madness is not the only difference this Advent season. For the last three Advents (or was it four?) I felt the grief of infertility more acutely than at any other time of the year. As I prepared to preach on improbable conceptions, hope, expectation... it was dreadful. And this couldn't have been sadder for me as Advent had previously been my favorite liturgical season. For the last several years it has been something to survive and that has been very sad indeed.
So, of course God would give this gift in Advent. Of course. To literally be in my own Advent as this liturgical season dawns, awaiting a holy birth... a gift finally given.
I don't know why I fretted about a possible early baby. There is no way this baby could have come before Advent. No way at all.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Come, O Come sweet child of mine
And ransom captive Israel
And bring to us your light divine.
That mourns in lonely exile here
For we in darkness long did dwell
Until the Son of God appears
Until the gift of you on us fell.
Sweet child of mine
shall come to thee, O Israel.
shall come to bring light right on time.