The advent season has begun and we, like many other families, have started to work our way through an advent calendar. Each night after dinner our 3 year old gets to pull out a little ornament that hangs on a calendar we were given, which creates a manger scene and then we read a verse or two from the book of Luke depicting the Christmas story. We sing a little Christmas song and then share a piece of chocolate from another calendar that was gifted to us this year.
Reading the story this way, just one verse at a time, has led me to stop and contemplate the individual experiences of those involved a little more. I admit that I’m a bit impatient in waiting to get through the whole story and provide the kids with the complete picture.
But then I stopped and thought about Mary. She had a whole different kind of waiting experience – one I can’t even fully imagine.
As parents we waited to get pregnant. We waited 9 months to actually get to see and hold each of our two boys. Perhaps you have had this experience as well. Or perhaps you waited a seemingly unending number of months through the process of adoption. Waiting for the paperwork to be processed, waiting to be approved, waiting the see a picture of your girl or boy, and finally to get to know them in person. Maybe you are in the midst of one of these waiting experiences right now. However one comes into parenting there is usually some waiting involved.
It seems to me that Mary and Joseph had to deal with both the parents by birth and parents by adoption experiences all at once. Mary had the big belly, the swollen ankles, and the exhaustion. All this while riding around on a donkey and then actually giving birth in a barn on a big pile of hay. Then there’s the added factor of giving birth to the son of God. All pregnant women wonder what their child will look like, but generally you can expect some combination of mom and dad in looks and personality. Mary, on the other hand, has no idea what this kid will come out like….I mean you expect good things from God’s son, but what exactly that would mean she had no idea.
Then there’s Joseph. You find a nice girl. You get engaged. And then she tells you that an angel informed her she’s having a baby and it’s God’s son. Say what?! And he sticks with her through it all and adopts the child as his own. Talk about faith in God and the woman you love!
What a beautiful, amazing depiction of waiting on God with grace and trust. Suddenly all the things I’m waiting for in life seem a little less important. Suddenly I’m reminded that waiting on God, the giver of all great gifts, is the only waiting that’s of any real importance.
This holiday season, as you wait in lines at the store, as you wait for vacation to start, as you wait to see family, as you wait for the whole thing to be over, or whatever it is your waiting for I pray that you remember to wait on God with the beautiful, amazing faith of Mary and Joseph.
Michael Gungor beautifully depicts this type of waiting in this short and simple song, Waiting:
I will be waiting
With my heart laid bare
Would You come
I will be waiting
Simply waiting here
Till You come