December begins again. First advent Sunday celebrated. This the season of hopeful expectation, when my son was still living, moving, alive, 9 full months of life, of knowing and knitting within my womb, fearfully and wonderfully.
I was waiting for you my son, (still waiting), I was ready…so hopeful…
Three years ago, my perpetual calendar (The Power of Prayer by Richard Foster) shifted to a new theme of prayers, from Healing Prayer to The Prayer of Suffering. It happened again this past Sunday, the first day of Advent at that. Everyday now I read a quote about suffering. This first one, signifying the season my soul senses before the calendar tells, read:
“In the Power of Suffering we give to God the various difficulties and trials that we face, asking Him to use them redemptively. We also voluntarily take into ourselves the griefs and sorrows of others to set them free”
Three years ago, pregnant with expectation, I remember thinking it a bit strange, that quotes about suffering would coincide with the hope of Christmas coming. I remember thinking specifically how they were the furthest thing from my own joy and hopeful expectation with a baby boy due in only a few more days. We had a house full of hope, an excited big sister, sweet anticipatory brother, proud, oh so proud papa, and me, just me, his mama.
I’d owned the calendar for nearly 10 years by then, had viewed it through two other winter pregnancies nearing delivery. Never before had I notice the theme of suffering as odd in timing, nor read each days’ message so dutifully, in case God is preparing me to comfort someone who might be suffering, I remember thinking. Little did I know whose heart He was preparing.
December hit with dense fog and fear the year he would have been one, belly bulging, with promise of a baby girl this time, if we can ever again hope to believe in what seems to be, again. Like a hurricane December came year two, the flood of a heavy heart sweeping me back to what was lost and never would be, still. But a baby, sweet precious baby girl in full-of-life flesh, reminds me of everything that is so good and the magnitude of what was lost.
Oh yes, December. Here you are again, with howling winds, and icy rains, cold enough for snow, sometimes, cold enough to kill off the abundance conceived in Spring. Dark, brisk days when a breath can feel like shards of glass cutting through lung tissue and escaping as smoke signals of your own life that goes on as you scream into the deafening dead-end silence against how final it all is, and how crazy that makes you feel that there is nothing you can ever do to bring him back.
December again, and still, it is over.
He was born still.
Still so much.
So much life, so much laughter, still soft bellies and squishy fingers to kiss, still I am surrounded with more love than I could ever, ever have hoped for. Still so much to look forward to. Christmas grows more magical, when 7, 5 and 23 months live here. There is glow, and glitter to string, giddy expectation of goodness to come. It always does come. The goodness was there, always was, and is, and forever more shall be.
In advent, I wait, hopeful, for a child, a son, and a Son. One whom I will run to and embrace, know his sweet face that I had the blessed chance to kiss and hold for a mere moment. Forever I will wait and long for that redemptive embrace. And another One who will embrace me, kiss my face and say, you are mine, and he is mine, redemption is mine. My life your true gift, that makes all this that you love worth hoping for.
The season of hopeful expectation has come – Rejoice! He who is God is with us! Again I can say – I. Will. Rejoice!