Irving, Texas

Advent Musing – Anticipation/Expecting

The most anticipation I’ve ever experienced is having a baby.  There are so many unknowns and first­time experiences that are both exciting and scary.  Since I’ve now given birth, I think the anticipation continues to grow as Julia grows and learns new things. In a lot of ways, I’m sure that Mary was filled with much of the same anticipation leading up to and after the birth of Jesus.

I experienced many thoughts and feelings before Julia was born.  After struggling for some time to have a baby, Calvin and I had much anticipation of all the wonderful experiences having a baby brings.  We looked forward to the hugs, kisses, laughs, snuggles, and of course the love.  We knew that she would bring pure joy to our lives.   While of course it isn’t all easy, it was a challenge we were ready to embark on.

Preparations and decisions had to be made from the moment I became pregnant.  Practical decisions like choosing the best stroller and what type of birthing experience I wanted.  And then there were fun decisions like what we would name her and choosing the theme of her nursery. There were also decisions that needed to be made on how to care for her once she was born.

When I think about Mary’s experience, she must have been so scared because she wasn’t even planning on having child at that moment in her life. She was still planning her marriage to Joseph.  While we daydreamed about names, she was preparing for a much anticipated difficult conversation with Joseph to tell him about her pregnancy.  While we checked out strollers, she prepared to give birth to the Son of God.  But both Mary and Joseph remained faithful to God and to each other.

Anticipation grew as the time drew closer for me to give birth to Julia.  The actual process of having a baby made me very anxious.  What helped keep me calm was that we had a plan.  I knew my doctor delivering my baby, the specific hospital that I would give birth, that Calvin would be by my side advocating for me, and the people most important to me would be in the waiting room anxiously awaiting Julia’s arrival.  So while there was much anticipation on finally meeting Julia, we had a plan.

It’s hard to imagine what Mary was thinking on her and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.  She didn’t know who would deliver Jesus or where he would be born.  She didn’t have any family besides Joseph that she knew would be there to support her.  But she went anyway.  Her faith calmed her fears for she knew she would give birth to our Savior.

A wonderful and heartwarming experience that Mary and I both were able to see first­hand is the love and support showered upon a new baby.  I expected this for Julia, and our loved ones did not disappoint.  I’m not sure what Mary expected upon the birth of Jesus.  Regardless, love was bestowed on him from people far and wide.

Finally, the most anticipated aspect of having Julia was the amount of love I would have for her.

Shortly before giving birth, I was shown a video of things parents wished they had known prior to having a baby. The final tip was to be prepared to love something more than you ever thought you could.  While I somewhat grasped that concept before, the unconditional love that I feel is truly something you have to experience to know.  This reality has far exceeded my expectations. And I know that Mary felt the same unconditional love for Jesus.  And what’s truly remarkable is that Jesus has and unconditional love for all of us.

So this Christmas, while some of us may have anticipations of what is wrapped under the tree or or parties that we will attend, let’s take some time to remember the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem and the anticipation they faced when Jesus was born.

– Tiffanie Winchester

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