I've always loved the advent season, the anticipation of Christmas, waiting for the announcement that the Christ was born, the shepherds, the traveling, the angels, the wise men, and the little baby. Last year during advent I was 7 months pregnant. I understood Christmas from a different point of view. I related so much more to Mary. Her song of joy and praise was also mine.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49
The child in my womb wasn't destined to save humanity from the mess we created. But like Mary my son was special because all babies are special in the hearts of their mothers.
The first week of advent starts at the end of November and begins December. Its the time when we start watching for the shopping deals, the new recipes, the decorations, and maybe a new tradition. Its like the beginning of a pregnancy. You keep an eye out for all that information on what you'll need to take care of your baby. You watch for deals and start looking through parenting book, magazines, and websites. In the first week of advent we are told to watch and to keep alert, but not for the best deal on whatever it is your husband, wife or children want this year. We need to be awake for the coming of the Christ. Its a time to remember the waiting and watching God's people did generation after generation. Its a time to remind ourselves that Christ is coming again and we need to be ready. We need to be ready by living our lives as He taught us, by loving and caring for all people, and by taking care of the poor, the weak, the sick, and the grieving. We hope and watch for the time when Christ comes again, when we'll be reunited with our loved ones who have passed, when people won't go hungry, and when we no longer send husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers off to war.
"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you - so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1: 4-7
The second week of advent we are told to prepare. We start decorating and buying presents. In the middle of a pregnancy you begin preparations. You start buying what you need, you begin to plan and decorate a special place for the baby. Advent reminds us to prepare for the coming of King. This time not as a baby.
"See I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight." Isaiah 40:3
This year the advent season is again different for me. I'm not the pregnant woman anticipating the arrival of my special child. Instead I think of Mary at the foot of the cross and wonder if she still felt blessed that her son was the savior of the world. If she knew how the Christ was to save the world would she still have sung her song of joy or would she have wept for her son's life cut too short. (Because any time a child dies before their parent whether the child hasn't been born yet, the child lived for 10 or 20 or 50 years the child's life was cut too short.) I do know the answer to my question. Mary would still rejoice in her son's life because I still rejoice in Alexander's life. I feel so blessed to have even known him for the short time he grew in my womb. I feel blessed that he has made such an impact in my life and the lives of others. He has taught us to love completely and cherish what time we are given. Yes my joy is mingled with sorrow but isn't that what advent is? Isn't that what life is since sin came into the world? We can't watch and prepare for the Christ Child without the knowledge that he grew up and died for all of us. Without his death, his birth becomes just another birth from 2000 years ago. Our hope, anticipation and joy have to be mingled with the sorrow of sin and death or Christmas becomes meaningless.
This advent I better understand the anticipation but also the sacrifice that began with a little baby. He came to us as a child and died for us as a friend, a brother, a teacher, a Lord, and a son so that we might live with Him and our precious children in eternity. How completely awesome is that?
Our tree includes a cross and has 2 special ornaments for Alexander this year.