Advent typically isn’t a time I set ‘goals’ for myself other than to not rush through advent for the sake of getting to Christmas sooner. This year I have two goals for the advent season:
1. Write a blog about pregnancy and advent (similar to the one I wrote on engagement and advent last year).
2. Don’t rock out to Christmas music until the Third Sunday of Advent at the very, very earliest – hold out until Christmas Eve if at all possible.
I’m happy to say that I’m doing pretty good on my second goal (even if this version of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence has been on repeat for…weeks), and that I’m finally crossing goal number one off my list.
There is something obvious that connects pregnancy to advent: the waiting. Advent is primarily about waiting, something I’m seldom good at. I wake up each morning with various feelings about still being pregnant: “I have another 15 weeks?!?!” or “I just want to meet our daughter already!” or somewhere in between. If we rush through advent just to get to Christmas, we miss the journey and our anticipation is cut off at the knees, ultimately stealing the depth of our Christmas joy from us. Similarly, if I rush through pregnancy just to get to motherhood outside the womb, not only do I put my daughter’s life at risk (I want her to grow as much as she can/should inside me first!), but I cut off my own ability to prepare before her coming. Will my joy be there no matter when she is born? Of course, but the anticipation, the waiting – no matter how agonizing it may seem – only adds to the joy of what is to come.
There’s another something obvious that connects pregnancy to advent: pregnancy. In this time of waiting, I have the chance to join my pregnancy with that of Mary. What did she experience? What was it like when Jesus was growing inside of her, kicking and punching? Did she struggle to sleep through the night or to simply roll over in bed as Jesus grew? Obviously she didn’t have to debate names with her husband or decide which medical procedures she’d opt out of, but the essence of the experience is the same. As much as I love Mary, being pregnant allows me to connect with her motherhood in a entirely new way. Instead of asking myself the seemingly age old question of, “What Would Jesus Do?” I find myself asking, “What Would Mary Do?” Would she whine and complain about the aches and pains of pregnancy? Do I think she whined to Joseph about how the donkey didn’t properly support her spine? Probably not. Sure, she was perfect and sinless, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t strive for that same perfection and sacrifice in my own pregnancy.
I also have no doubt that Mary, like me, wondered what her child would grow up to be like. The angel Gabriel told her about Him, that He would be a savior, sure, but what about His personality quirks? Would He ever sleep through the night? What would He look like? Yet despite her wondering, she trusted God through it all: through every ache and pain, through every late night kicking session, she chose to trust that He would provide. Even more, she chose to trust that God will give her the grace she needed to be exactly the kind of mother Christ would be. Why should I not trust in God like she did, knowing that He will give me what I need to be the mother the child inside of me will need?