As we travel toward December 25th, I will be marking the four weeks of Advent with this series –
Pregnant with Christmas. With one child born two days after Christmas and my tummy full of another one right now, so many of my thoughts are on that teenage mother of 2,000 years ago and her un-shakeable faith. So, each Sunday/Monday I will offer part of my own stumbling journey toward motherhood and what I’ve learned from watching Mary’s. I hope you’ll join me. And teach me.
I have been afraid lately.
I look at Micah’s curlicue eyelashes in the early sun as he breathes on my cheek — the lashes that that look like they were made to bat at cherubs — and I feel the fear steal into the moment and lie down cold beside me in the bed.
It places a hand on my 6-month full belly.
I have been afraid of becoming a parent again. Because I don’t know if my heart can hold this third ocean of vast new ways in which to worry. A third sea of vulnerability. And I feel lost in my inadequate life boat, without compass or equipment to predict what storms might come and when. The cold is not my friend. Nor is my imagination or my dreams.
I am afraid of the unknown.
While the two boys that currently stretch my heart to places I didn’t know it could go have romped and whooped and hollered their love song all around and about and down to my tippy toes, I have been hiding. Because, truth is, they terrify me.
How they might lay me low with one hurt, one disaster, one irreparable break.
I have become afraid of the dark.
So I travel in my mind to a dirt road and a young girl on a donkey crossing dust and ruts and dung with her brand new husband en route to a town where they will be strangers. I feel my belly sway with the donkey’s gait and my stomach contract in protest at the hours of travel time and so many unknowns to fill them.
He sent her carrying the Light of the World into the darkness of the unknown.
He sent his own Son into the dark.
As a Christian I believe we live in parallel worlds. One world consists of hills and lakes and barns and politicians and shepherds watching their flocks by night. The other consists of angels and sinister forces and somewhere out there places called heaven and hell. One night in the cold, in the dark, among the wrinkled hills of Bethlehem, those two worlds came together at a dramatic point of intersection. God, who knows no before or after, entered time and space. God, who knows no boundaries, took on the shocking confines of a baby’s skin, the ominous restraints of mortality. – Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, pp.44-45.
The Father-God risked it all, no holds barred.
On earth a baby was born, a king got wind of it, a chase ensued.
In heaven the Great Invasion had begun, a daring raid by the ruler of the forces of good into the universe’s seat of evil. – Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, p.43.
Head on, into the dark.
I light candles with my sons. My Dutch family used to clip them to the Christmas tree – a tradition beloved until branches started to smolder and kids to squeal. We light our way one bumpy step at a time. And the nightmares don’t all dry up or the waters of worry recede. Instead, I see my way one small step at a time through them.
Because I believe what her baby would grow up to fulfill. I believe that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never be able to put it out.
So I pull the duvet tight around Micah and his locks and warm my legs against his fat feet. And we glow with a light that is more than the sunrise.
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