I love Christmas.
I just have to get that out there. I’m the wide-eyed girl who squeals when Christmas songs start playing in the malls, lighting up even brighter than the Christmas lights that surround her. Filipinos normally begin their countdown around September. I have my decorations up by September, but start the countdown around March.
I love everything it represents. It amazes me that for a season, people who say they believe and people who say they don’t believe in God come together to celebrate a day that is used as a marker for Christ’s birth. Arguments regarding the actual date of his birth fly out the window, because what matters is in the remembering; that for a time, the whole world lights up against the darkness and celebrates the remembering of His coming.
We remember His coming. The word Advent, which is known as the season before Christmas, comes from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” Advent is the anticipating of His coming.
Is it just me or does it feel like we’re always in the Advent? Like we’re always in the moment of holding our breaths, hearts beating in hope, waiting,
waiting for Him to come.
I had lunch with a friend recently and when we were praying for each other, a term I liked to use popped in my head.
“Pregnant with promise.”
I looked straight into this guy’s eyes and told him that he was pregnant with a promise. Suffice to say, confusion and surprise overtook his face. Really, Jade, telling a male that he’s pregnant? But I leaned over and told a story I have dwelled on many times before.
Luke 1 tells us that after the angel came to Mary telling her that she will be pregnant with the Messiah, she went to Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, in haste. Elizabeth and Zachariah were both very old and they have never had a child when an angel told Zechariah that they will have a son even then. So by the time Mary visited Elizabeth, she was well into her pregnancy of promise as Mary was starting out on hers.
We all have the promises we are nurturing and how we’re all just anticipating their coming. Some of us get to birth our promises earlier than others, but that doesn’t make the promise that we hold any less valuable or important. It doesn’t mean that they are more favored. It just means that it’s simply not yet time and all circumstances surrounding the birth have yet to align.
We’re down to the last 30 days of the year and some of us are still looking at our bellies, not in anticipation of all the holiday food but in anticipation of the promise coming. Some of us are no longer in awe of watching the promise form and grow, and just want it done and over with. Some of us have miscarried the promises and have lost hope. We look at the Christmas tree and feel like our lives are reflective of anything but that because our dreams have all been cut off.
But we have a God who looked at the lineage of David, a line full of reality-show-deserving monarchs with affairs here and family feuds there, and saw more than has-beens and would-have-beens. At the time when it sure looked like the branches of their family tree would no longer bear fruit, when it seemed like they were about to be cut off from their roots, God said,
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” (Isaiah 11:1 NLT)
Out of the stump of our broken dreams and broken hearts, will grow a shoot. Maybe more than the miracles we hope to see around us, God wants to first work the miracle in us.
So here in the Advent, we wait we hope, we place ourselves in a humble position of anticipation. We pause, take our time, and embrace every moment, like a pregnant woman who savors the good and the bad of the process to her promise.
We remind ourselves that it’s Christmas, and more than the gifts we hope to receive, we have already received the best promise there is: The infinite God, the One whose power the heavens still cannot contain, humbly and kindly allowed Himself to be an infant for our sake.
“All I know of seasons is that You take Your time. You could have saved us in a second, instead You sent a child.”
-Seasons by Hillsong
And as He has come before, He will do it again.
Love came down.
Beloved, what’s the rush?