We agreed that a third kid would be good. A third kid could work for us. This was March, and I told the Nilsen Dad that I was absolutely cool with going for #3, I just didn't want a Christmas baby.
Neither of us are great scientists; neither are we gifted at math. Next thing I know, I'm in stirrups being told we're due December 31st.
I spent December 2007 very great with child. Both of the older kids arrived early, and I fully expected that Nilsen #3 would do the same. As such, this dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator got Christmas ready way ahead of time. (And by way ahead of time, I mean in November; my standard 'way ahead of time' means the week before Christmas, instead of Christmas Eve. God bless UPS Overnight Shipping.)
We spent that last month quietly doing crafts, making cookies, wrapping gifts, and counting down days with no less than five Advent calendars. Every day, as my belly stretched bigger and wider, and my cheeks threatened to take over my face, I wondered if that day would be the day.
Even in my discomfort, I was grateful for the time and the mental space to reflect on Waiting. One aspect of that reflection turned into a post which to this day is one of my favorites. You can find it here.
Looking back though, at that last month of quiet (and yes, it was the last month: I'm told there might be another in 14 years or so), I am aware that it took me until then to fully grasp the meaning of Advent, and the Advent season.
It's a word that gets tossed around pretty frequently, at least for those of us who are semi-regular churchgoers. Certainly even non-religious families do advent calendars to count down the days to Christmas. For most of my life, I didn't spend much time in thinking on how the advent experience could add to my Christmas season: I just wanted Christmas Day to come faster!
Finally, as an extremely pregnant thirty-something, I became intensely aware that the expectation, hope, preparation and longing that are part and parcel of a Christmas baby are exactly what I need to focus on when remembering the birth of the Christmas Baby. This realization has made all the difference in finding ways to make the season meaningful not only for me, but for my family. We all can remember the time of anxious expectation, and therefore celebrate with heartfelt joy when celebrating the day of birth.
Editor's Note: I've been journaling - privately - about Advent this season. There are a few ideas that I've reflected on that feel big enough, broad enough, to share with all of you. The next few posts will - hopefully - bring a few thoughts on these things.