Advent & longing

I haven’t had much time or energy to devote to Advent this year as I have been busy growing a baby…however, as I read an excerpt from one of Dorothy Day’s Advent reflections today my heart was awakened again to the longing of Advent.

“ADVENT IS a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence. Waiting for our Lord to be born. A pregnant woman is so happy, so content. She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her. One always hears that stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand. But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence.

Be still. Did I hear something? Be still and see that I am God.”

You see, today was my first official prenatal appointment: the one where they check your medical history, make sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins, tell you the importance of breastfeeding, etc. And the best part of said appointment is that you get to hear your little one’s heartbeat for the first time. The fluttering rush of blood, pumping through tiny organs and carrying life to that little person you have been imagining and dreaming about.

As I lay on the table in my midwife’s office, I pulled up my shirt just over my belly and waited for the inevitably cold gel to be slathered on for the ultrasound (doppler?). I stared up at the ceiling and it suddenly dawned on me what was about to happen: I’m going to hear her heart beat! (I refer to her as “her” only because this is my gut feeling.) I think with all the pain and nausea I’ve experienced the last few weeks, I hadn’t taken much time to really consider the little life inside of me.  My heart began to race as the nurse rolled the doppler around slowly on different parts of my belly…seconds felt like minutes…endless minutes. I kept telling myself that it is harder to hear early on because of how small the fetus is but my heart was still racing. Where IS it???? I felt the expectation so tangibly, my body was tense, every muscle quiet so there would be no distraction.

Suddenly, there it was! That undeniable, soft, whooshing sound. I smiled, but continued to hold my breath so we wouldn’t lose it. It really does sound like a little bird’s soft, whooshing wings. Beautiful.

The anticipation of Advent is often harder to hear, especially with the noise and commotion of holiday shopping & busy-ness & parties & carols & Christmas! What is there to long for, or expect… it’s all here and it’s even ON SALE!

But that is not the heart of Advent. We await God: His peace, His restoration, His comfort. So much of life tries to drown Him out.  In the midst of holiday obligations and preparations or even just painful everyday circumstances, it can be so difficult to hear the small stirrings of God. If we can quiet ourselves, make time for silence and contemplation…perhaps, we can hear the soft sound of God with us.

Be still. Did you hear something? Be still and see that He is God.


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