when Advent arrives (the end of the waiting)

When I wrote last week’s post on the waiting of Advent, my brothers and I were all waiting. Scattered up and down the East coast, from Maine to South Carolina, we all were awaiting quite poignant gifts. Both sisters-in-law were pregnant, due within a week of each other!, and we were eagerly waiting for the gifts of these babies.

And within a week, both gifts were delivered. Jonathan and Nicole welcomed their first daughter (third child), Abigail Katherine, on Thursday morning, December 6 (on her due date). And I gained my first niece! Six days later, on her due date of December 12, Bryan and Megan welcomed their first baby, Isaac Lee. My “baby” brother having his first baby … I can hardly believe it!

I am reminded that the end of the waiting is a gift. It is a gift immeasurable to see these babies cradled in the arms of their parents, babies which even just two short weeks ago were still nurtured in their mother’s wombs. To see these gifts delivered! The gift of a first daughter; the gift of a first baby … And there is a taste of Advent here. The “already” part of Advent – that there is a baby who has been delivered. Isaiah echoes this promise –

For unto US a child is born, unto US a son is given …

And yet I am still waiting to meet these sweet gifts. I rejoice with their arrival, and I ache with longing to hold them and kiss their sweet faces and welcome them to the world and actually see/witness/experience the joy of their proud parents. And isn’t this like Advent? We rejoice that our King has come, humbly born and laid in a manger. That He began the redemption revolution and its end is guaranteed. But yet we await the full experience of it, don’t we? There is still suffering, tears, infertility, death, grief, abuse – that remind us that we still await the FULL Advent, of our King will will “make all the sad things come untrue.” (Tolkien)

I am sharing a poem I wrote with the birth of my first nephew over four years ago. And it is now in honor of these two sweet babies, barely and not quite a week old now. There can’t be a better way of celebrating AND awaiting Advent then for these parents as they cradle their newborns.

Who will this little one be?
So much potential!
Tiny toes, hands, feet …
what miles will you walk?
What work will you do?
Who will you become?
Your world is a blank canvas.
Yet planned by a Creator who has been forming you from the beginning of time. He knew your face before any of us glimpsed it.
He knows what will make you laugh and cry.
He sees your end from the beginning.
And he loves you more than any of us can.
(hard to believe – I haven’t even seen you yet
but I love you already because you belong to us)

A late night prayer is that you will come to know
the One who knows you early in your life.
You have a better chance than many because
you will see Him in the lives of your parents.
They will show His love to you in 1000 ways, reflecting it to you like a prism’s rainbow of light.
May you receive it,
drinking it in like water in a desert’s oasis.
This world is difficult.
You will find that out too soon – it is a desert
and it often feels like wandering wilderness,
but there is refreshment to carry you through.
It’s the beauty of Christ … the way He is making all things new.As he has made you new tonight.

So this evening,
your first evening in this world,
rest well.
Sleep well, little one.
You will awaken soon enough.
The journey is long and sweet and beautiful. Welcome to the family.

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