This time of advent is a time for waiting, waiting for wonderful miracles, waiting for the Son of God to be born. Being pregnant during advent really brings this idea of waiting into an interesting light. I am eagerly awaiting Christmas, the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but I’m also eagerly awaiting the birth of another life — that of my son.
I find it curious that Christmas is more celebrated than Easter (though the cynic in me feels that it is probably because we have attached Christmas to materialism and things). Easter is the holiday where we celebrate the fact that Jesus finished the work he came to do, the work that changed the world. But I also think there is good reason for Christmas to be the “bigger” holiday. It is the holiday of mystery and wonder. The holiday where we celebrate not what Jesus has done, but the holiday where we celebrate hope for what he could do. The baby Jesus is not a symbol of accomplishment, but a symbol of potential, and potential holds a great mystery.
I very much identify with this mystery because I find myself wondering what Henry will look like, whose personality quirks he’ll get, and what kind of man he will grow up to be. I have high hopes for him, and am honored that I will get to watch this little person grow, this mystery unfold before me.
But at this time of wonder, I also feel a tinge of sadness for all those whose mystery has ended. The little girl Ted and I sponsor at the Village of Hope died on Sunday night. Her name was Elizabeth, and she was seven. I met her when she was about five and wanted to be held and carried constantly. I wonder if she still always wanted to be held, but I know for certain that she is being held now.
Jesus’s life was cut short so that he could do his greatest work. I know Elizabeth was not taken away to accomplish some divine purpose. Her death is beyond sadness and sense, but I know God can work miracles through tiny babies, through men laying down their lives, and through seven-year-old Ghanaian girls dying. I don’t know what will come of her death, but I hope, I hope for light to shine in this darkness, just as baby Jesus shined light on the hope to come.