December 29, 2007

Birth

Advent, the season of waiting for the birth of Jesus, is over.

For me, it's come to be a joyful anticipation that deepens with each day. It's like the pregnant creation in Romans 8:18-25, that can hardly wait for what's coming next. Creation surrounds us, and the difficult times in the world are birth pangs.


We feel the birth pangs as a yearning for full deliverance. It's a state that we don't have much control over - the timing is out of our hands, the pain is an unknown. It's not only around us; but within us - as the Holy Spirit fills us and impregnates us with his Truth. But the waiting doesn't diminish us, anymore than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting even though we don't see what's enlarging us. When we tire of waiting, God's Spirit helps us along. And the longer we wait, the more joyful our hope.


In recent years I've learned the need for waiting with joyful expectancy. Due to a pattern of broken promises in my past, words like expectancy and anticipation were not a part of my vocabulary. In coping I had built up defense mechanisms. And then joy ...?!

Joy and anticipation are founded upon a history, and as humans, the history of our own lives is often inadequate to carry us forward. So when I pursued strengthening my knowledge of the past through the stories of many lives from Old to New Testament and on into the Third Testament, I stumbled upon the presence of God, in a very transforming way.

(I did this felted bas-relief picture when at a place of imagining a visual for this process of transformation.)

I can now wait with expectancy and joyful anticipation.
I also now see pain and suffering and hardship as waiting pregnancy. There is hope. There's another side. There's light at the end of the tunnel. There is new birth.

I bet Mary said, as I once said, the next day after giving birth, "I'll go through that again!" - actually forgetting the pain. (Oh, but I don't really want to!)
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