Having a kid has changed the way I experience Advent.
Or, more specifically, the process of desiring and hoping for and then receiving a child has changed the way I experience Advent.
But more than that, the process of waiting has changed me.
I’ve written a decent amount about our pregnancy process (A Baby on the Way Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) but reflecting on the story of Everett’s arrival during the season of Advent has allowed me to process some of the emotions and transitions of the past year.
Advent is a season of waiting, hoping, and expecting.
During the season of Advent, we remember and stand with Israel’s centuries of waiting for a Messiah.
During the season of Advent, we remember and stand with a young unwed girl from Palestine during a mysterious and miraculous pregnancy.
During the season of Advent, we remember and stand with all of creation longing and groaning for redemption.
For weeks and months that dragged on for nearly two years, we waited and longed for a child. When you wait that long for something so big, at some point you start to feel like you are crazy. Crazy for wanting something so badly. Crazy for thinking there’s any chance to see your hopes fulfilled. Crazy for continuing to wait.
Waiting is a weird and complex thing. Waiting changed how I prayed and how I read the Scriptures. Waiting changed how I interacted with my friends, especially those who seemed to have all that I was waiting for. Waiting was difficult and sometimes even ruinous as hearing news of great joy in the life of others could bring about such complex and conflicted sadness in my own heart.
As you wait, even for desires that may never be fulfilled, the scope of your vision and the shape of your heart are ever-changing. Waiting causes you to taste, see, and feel the world differently. Like the painfully-grassy blades of grass in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, the waiter’s world is richer and truer not in light of the pain and difficulty of waiting but because of the pain and difficulty of waiting.
Modest Mouse has a song in which they sing
If life’s not beautiful without the pain, Well I’d just rather never ever even see beauty again.
I love that line because I have been in the place where pain blocks all other perspective.
Advent affirms that place and then draws us into a new place, calling us to see waiting as a practice that changes us as it leads to hope and joy.