Waiting is the worst. Waiting for a green light, waiting for the coffeepot, waiting for a bad haircut to grow out. Waiting for a husband, waiting for direction, waiting for the next Masterpiece Mystery to air on PBS.
And then there’s the kind of waiting all mothers know. Nine months of it to be exact.
At first, she might think the time will fly by. How long is 40-ish weeks anyway? But then, morning sickness lingers for a little too long. And her ankles swell. And she can’t bend over to pick up keys without strategizing like a four-star general. And there’s still months to go.
Waiting, in these unglamorous moments, can tempt us to melancholy, regret and idleness. It can make us imagine that happily-ever-after lies somewhere just beyond the horizon, within our grasp if only we had x, y, or z.
We want to fast-forward the romance, skipping the awkward introduction, miscommunication, and adversity, to the triumphant finale when he embraces her in his arms. Or in our moms’ case, let’s skip the weeks and weeks of a miniature human hanging out in her abdomen to the magical moment when she embraces her newborn in her arms.
But a mother knows her child needs that time. And in the meantime, she’ll attend doctor appointments, go to work and complete classes. She’ll brainstorm baby names, arrange the furniture and pack her hospital bag. The inevitability of the coming of the child doesn’t make the preparation irrelevant. It imbues the wait with meaning.
The kind of waiting each of us are called to this Advent is not one of anxious trepidation, but of joyful anticipation. It is not one of idle twiddling of thumbs, but of active preparation for the coming of Jesus, who became one of the aforementioned miniature humans to save us.
God calls us to a joyful adventure with Him, here and now. His love can fill the most impatient corners of our hearts. His love acts through us; we are His hands and feet (even though I might have sweaty palms and you might have stinky feet).
The fairy tale ending is, you guessed it, heaven. In the meantime, let’s make the waiting count.
By Tia Westhoff, a MissionCorps