We called our pregnancy with Safran our '40 weeks of Advent'. We waited expectantly for our son to arrive in our arms. We longed for him with near desperation, especially as the time drew nearer. My emotions were heavy in those months. It was dark. I cried often, in the evenings laying in bed next to Chris, helpless. I carried the grief and pain of losing our first baby early in pregnancy very deeply. I battled despair nearly every day. And yet I carried a whole new baby inside as well, and I was thrilled. I felt his dance daily and dreamed of our future together. The tension of grief and expectancy was difficult to hold. I always felt guilty in embracing either.
Maybe that's what Advent is about - the opportunity to enter the womb of the world, and she's honest with us. Her dreams have been washed out to sea with chaotic waves; she's lost children, she weeps. The sweatshops, sex slavery, civil wars, domestic violence, greed and exploitation, cancer and HIV - she knows the faces and stories intimately and it tears her to pieces. She laments. She groans, the Apostle Paul writes, with the pains of labour.
And yet, she's still pregnant with new life. Somehow she carries a hope again that's stretching her to this thin fragility, ready to burst yet being held. Somehow this same creation that groans in pain also filled with trees clapping their hands in joy and fields and hills singing with expectancy. She knows that God is coming to judge the earth and make all things new.
This December I'm actually 'with child' during Advent and the impending "coming" gives me a tangible taste of a pregnant world waiting for God to deliver us all. I can feel the ache setting in. I know a bit of the longing. I too am waiting for a new world to come, for the redemption of my body, for glad cries of deliverance as a fresh babe is welcomed onto my chest.
My growing belly is a sacrament and I solemnly and joyfully partake; my stretch marks holy before the Lord.