Countdown to Christmas – Expecting

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38 NIV

Nine months is not a long time, but when you’re pregnant it seems like forever. Nausea, fatigue, heartburn, muscle cramps, joint pain, back pain, abdominal pressure, swelling, and difficulty sleeping are some of the common discomforts associated with pregnancy.

In the last weeks before giving birth we battle fear. Will it be painful? How will I react to labor pain? Will the baby be all right? Will I be all right? We have no idea what to expect, except that we will give birth – soon!

Imagine the magnitude of fear Mary must’ve battled as she traveled to Bethlehem. In her most vulnerable state, she was in strange surroundings, without the female support of her family, and with a man she’d never been intimate with – on whom she would have to depend to help her deliver her baby.

I delivered my first child in China. I was confident God led my husband and I there to teach, serve, and love our students. Far from home, in strange surroundings, not knowing what to expect of myself or of others – I also struggled with fear. During my final month of pregnancy, I wrote these words in my journal:

Each morning I feel fine and look forward to the day, but by evening my discomfort, swollen and sore limbs and sore swollen hands make it very difficult to remain emotionally positive. I pray every night the baby will come soon.

As I anticipate delivery, I become anxious – only by prayer have I been able to regain my peace. I have begun to pray God’s word back to him. As I focus on his promises to me in prayer, he confirms and answers my prayers. We’ve seen and will continue to see God’s faithfulness.

As we consider Mary’s anticipation of Jesus’ birth, we also groan with her in our eager anticipation of his second coming. We are uncomfortable with the consequences of sin, we battle fear and anxiety in chronic illness, we cry out for deliverance. These are the pangs of childbirth, but there will be sweet relief. There will be joy! Jesus is coming again.

…but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21b NIV

Let’s celebrate our hope and say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” 

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