I know it is almost cliche to think about pregnancy as a metaphor for Advent–the waiting, the preparation for baby Jesus to come. For me, this has literally been true more than once; each of my pregnancies was in the early stages during the Advent season. Putting myself back in that frame of mind and looking forward, I certainly experienced pregnancy as I have often experienced Advent: waiting and preparation to celebrate the arrival of a longed-for child. Getting the house ready, buying clothes and bedding, even reading the special pregnancy scripture–What to Expect When You Are Expecting. LIke I said, cliche.
But looking backward, I see that period in a different light. When you are pregnant, you see that period of time as preparing for the baby. Looking back, it seems more like pregnancy is not the time during which you make room for baby, it is the time during which you prepare to change your life forever. And this happens whether you get the right kind of diapers or not. It isn’t your old life plus one; it is a whole new way of being.
I have never adopted a child, but I am willing to bet the waiting period for adoption works the same way. Once you know it is going to happen, but before your child officially joins your family, you have a waiting period. During that time, you get your house ready and acquire all the things your child will need. But more importantly, you are getting ready to be changed, to enter a whole new life.
This Advent, I am trying to keep that in mind. I’m still shopping and decorating like I did for the arrival of my own children. But I’m also trying to imagine what it means to have Advent make us ready for a whole new life that includes the incarnated God. I may not get it exactly right, which also happened when I had my children. But I’ll get the chance to take that pregnant pause again next year. Changing an inch at a time toward that whole new life.