I remember anticipating the birth of our first child. We did all we could to prepare ahead of time, reading about deliveries, attending classes, praying for God’s mercies, and readying our home. At some point, we simply had to wait for Stormy, as we had affectionately nicknamed our unborn child.
Other parents we knew had their babies arrive early. We wondered if our baby may arrive early too, but Stormy had other plans that didn’t involve hurrying or punctuality.
Stormy’s due date came and went. We stopped making plans. In the reading we had done, we read that sometimes exercise can induce labor. It didn’t. We heard anecdotally that spicy food can have the same effect. It’s unclear if that worked or not, but Stormy did arrive the next day in a relatively textbook fashion.
The expectations we had ahead of labor, delivery, and parenting turned out to be somewhat inaccurate to the real thing. Knowledge can’t replace experience, even the abundance of knowledge available to expectant parents. Even in a textbook scenario, reality surprises new parents.
Imagine if the pregnancy had been divine. Imagine if the labor and delivery had occurred in a town away from home while we were travelling, and in a barn rather than a sterile hospital room. Imagine if, rather than friends paying a visit to congratulate us and meet the baby, strangers had arrived unexpectedly to greet our child and relay to us messages from angels.
As we prepare to walk through Advent this season, we do so with a certain level of knowledge. We know Christmas is coming. We anticipate Jesus’ arrival. We read about it in scripture. We celebrate the upcoming birth of our Savior. Even knowing in advance what to expect, we experience it in unexpected ways. God creates in our hearts a sense of wonder at His love and His masterful plan.
We read. We pray. We hope. We wait.