As we prepare to celebrate the coming of our Lord as a little baby, I am also celebrating the recent arrival of our second child. Even though we don’t know what day Jesus was really born, we like the predictability of naming His birthday and celebrating it on the same day year after year. I’m sure Mary would have been thrilled to know the day and hour her blessed child would arrive, just like every expectant mother on earth.
When it comes to pregnancy, our culture is obsessed with due dates. Invariably if you’ve been pregnant, one of the first questions people ask is “When are you due?” I’ve found that people aren’t quite satisfied with a general answer such as “In the fall” or “Around the holidays” or even “Late November.” We want to know the precise day. As our little bundle came four weeks past my initial “due date,” I can’t help but chuckle that baby Jesus arrives on the “due date” we’ve created for Him every single year without deviation.
Most women are induced if their baby refuses to make an appearance by week 42, if not earlier. After passing my due date and hitting the 42 week mark with no signs of labor, I wrestled with the reality of my utter lack of control in the situation. It turns out we were off in our due date (more like due guess) by two weeks and didn’t figure it out until that point. Like an unwanted time travel experience, I found myself once again at 40 weeks with another two to go.
The day before I went into labor, I went through a turning point in my pregnancy experience. I finally stopped worrying about when my child would come. I stopped feeling sorry for myself that I had to wait “so long.” I stopped thinking of ways I could c
oerce ”naturally induce” our baby into the world. I embraced my lack of control.
If we let go of our expectations and embrace the sacredness of the holy unknown, that is when we find joy. Stress, anxiety, and inner turmoil arise from our futile attempts to control what we shouldn’t try to hold in our hands. We like to play god and when we feel the limits of our power, we panic.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth tomorrow, I’m reminded that Mary was not the only person eagerly awaiting His arrival. A whole nation waited on the promise of His coming. They could not predict or control His arrival. They could only wait and trust in the Lord’s timing for their savior baby to come, saying in their hearts, “Come thou long-expected Jesus.”
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.