Advent – the days of December leading up to Christmas – is the time of waiting and preparing for the birth of the baby Jesus. Christmas, of course – to Christians anyway – is the celebration of His birth. As a babyloss mom experiencing this particular holiday for the first time – while last year I was waiting and preparing for my own baby, who would go on to be born during those infamous Twelve Days of Christmas – the irony is not lost on me.
In church, we hear the story of Mary agreeing to become pregnant. We walk with her on the road to her cousin’s house – Elizabeth, who has become pregnant “in her old age” – another miracle. When Elizabeth and Mary greet each other, both pregnant, Elizabeth’s baby leaps in her womb.
We set out our creche, withholding the Christ child until Christmas day. At least, we’re supposed to; I couldn’t handle the nativity with an empty cradle and Mary’s arms reaching out – to me, they were agony, not expectation. I put the baby in the manger. After all, this child was born, and so was Elizabeth’s. For this child, unlike our own, we can wait with hope that will be definitively fulfilled, with the foreknowledge and certainty* of what is to come.
* I believe the bible is rife with historical and deliberate inaccuracies, but historical sources agree that Jesus was, in fact, born (though likely in Nazareth, not Bethlehem).