9 Months of Anticipation

Waking up in a hotel room this morning makes focus on Advent a little more challenging. I miss my front porch, sitting and sipping coffee in the chill of the morning. I miss the routine of being home and all that is familiar.

There are no decorations here. The room is the usual stark older hotel room, lacking personality. This space does not draw me in to contemplation and anticipation. It draws me in to slumber and little else.

Still. This is Advent. Here in this space. I wonder in those months leading up to Jesus’ birth what the anticipation was like. Joseph and Mary. A God in her womb. How do you even begin to anticipate that reality.

I remember each of my pregnancies, and with the first I remember a moment of near panic attack. The realization that this baby had to come out; I had to give birth and there simply was no turning back. I remember the drives to the hospital and the building anticipation of meeting this new little person. We did not know the sexes of our babies, so there was always a deep anticipation and excitement, wondering who this little one would be.

Can you imagine the anticipation of Mary? How overwhelming that must have been. She must have wondered if this baby would look different than all other babes…this little infant who carried Divinity. This little One who would change everything.

Taking today to think back on the births of my children and the emotion embedded in that experience. Thinking today of how each of those births changed our lives. Thinking today of the anticipation that marked each birth. Thinking of how amplified that must have been for Mary.

The following poem from Luci Shaw helps me. Draws me in to the fact that Jesus was in Mary’s womb for 9 months. That is something I rarely think of…I always meet Jesus right at his birth. Mary knew, though. She had that 9 months of anticipation.

Even in a sterile hotel room, the reality of God with Us can change everything.

Made flesh
After the bright beam of hot annunciation
Fused heaven with dark earth
His searing sharply-focused light
Went out for a while
Eclipsed in amniotic gloom:
His cool immensity of splendor
His universal grace
Small-folded in a warm dim
Female space—
The Word stern-sentenced to be nine months dumb—
Infinity walled in a womb
Until the next enormity—the Mighty,
After submission to a woman’s pains
Helpless on a barn-bare floor
First-tasting bitter earth.

Now, I in him surrender
To the crush and cry of birth.
Because eternity
Was closeted in time
He is my open door
To forever.
From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
Find wings.
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
Out of his dark I glow.
My life, as his,
Slips through death’s mesh,
Time’s bars,
Joins hands with heaven,
Speaks with stars.

Luci Shaw

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