Two years ago, Advent was a very real, serious thing for me. I was hugely pregnant with Tristan in the run-up to Christmas, since my due date was Dec. 31st. Every time I looked at the nativity sets, my eyes went straight to Mary first, then Jesus. It was reassuring to know that I had a heavenly advocate who really knew what I was going through, and then some. After all, I wasn't going to have to give birth in a stall, with only my husband's help, after a long donkey ride.
A quirk of late pregnancy, which someone else recently pointed out on the internet (I wish I could remember who), is that the closer you get to your due date without going into labor, the LESS likely it seems that you will ever give birth. And if you go past your due date, it gets even worse. All of my children have been at least 5 days past their dates, and I was always more than ready to give them their eviction notices! Obviously, I did eventually have each one, but each time I was convinced that I would be the only woman who would be pregnant for the rest of my life.
But the point was I really FELT that sweet, slow, expectation. Waiting to deliver and waiting to be delivered. This year, I feel much more harried. More frazzled. I'm crabby, and I find myself not wanting to attend Christmas events like cookie exchanges or classroom parties (they just seem like a big hassle). I mean, I want to make those Christmas moments, but I don't want the pressure that goes with them.
But. Then I remember. Advent is a time of preparation. Of waiting for the birth. And if anyone is frazzled, cranky, and harried, it's someone awaiting a birth! The focus shouldn't be the extras, the frills, decorating the nursery, coordinating the linens, but we get caught up doing it anyway. We run to and fro, wanting everything to be perfect for the big day. And sometimes the big day falls short of our expectations - the baby's delivery doesn't go as planned, the kids don't like the gifts Grandma brought, the ham gets burnt, people argue. But the real point of the day is still the good, perfect thing.
A child is born to us.