Expectancy, Pregnant Pauses, and Holy Week
It is mid-November as I write this and I am starting to feel the thrill of anticipation running through my veins even while my heart and my mind are keeping still. Christmas season is not here yet, but I am enjoying the wait…letting the energy build.
I smile to myself a lot these days. I decide to stay quiet this time, probably my last. I think about Mary and her body physically filled with the expectation of THE child even as I am growing in expectation of MY child.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19.
There is something beautiful and sweet and quiet and wise and special and, in the end, even more thrilling in the waiting period…if we choose to relish the treasures of this season…the season of waiting and quiet and listening…the season of expectancy.
So I am choosing to be quiet this time around…even if for just a few weeks, not so rash, not so loud. I am choosing to honor the initial season of expectancy…treasuring up all these things in my heart…wondering at the work God is doing right now inside of me…creating life in my very body. It is a practice of discipline for me and it is worth it…to enjoy this special time of honoring the work, the child God is knitting. I almost feel like I am giving God space to work…space to do His thing…without muddling it with my words, my action.
But, even after I have my last child, I will not be finished being pregnant…I will not be finished with expectancy. Like Mary, we are all Christ carriers in this world. We are all expectant with His possibility, His LIFE in us. Sometimes we rush around, filling up every empty spot with so many wonderful things, that we forget to wait. We forget to be still. We forget to “cease striving and to know that [He] is God.” We forget to honor that season of waiting and often miss all of its treasures. We forget to honor the work He is knitting in our very midst and life. We forget to give God space to work…space to do His thing…without muddling it with our words, with our action.
So, remember…you don’t have to return every text, every phone call, or every facebook message immediately. You don’t have to tell everyone everything. You don’t have to do everything all at once. There is something beautiful and sweet and quiet and wise and special and, in the end, even more thrilling in the waiting.
I wrote that part about five months ago…right after I found out I was pregnant. While with the first three pregnancies I told people as soon as the doctor confirmed the heartbeat, I decided to move slowly this last time…to let the news simmer, to fill my life with the aroma of the advent of expectancy even as I was walking through the annual season of advent towards Christmas day.
I was reminded once again that we are all so much like Mary. Pregnant with His dreams and possibilities for us. Expectant with His work in our lives. Pregnant with His peace, His joy, His love.
I so want to be a Christ carrier…one who carries Christ inside me, filled with His Spirit, even as Mary physically carried Christ into this world, overshadowed with His presence. Infused with His peace, His joy, His love.
This is Holy week and I am still pregnant.
Palm Sunday has always been special to me even before I experienced the children’s processional in the main sanctuary with waving palm branches and singing. I love to think about Jesus coming into the city and everyone shouting: “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”
Literally translated “Hosanna” means “Save us!”
To cry out hosanna is not only a request, but it is also an acknowledgement…I know that YOU are the One who can save us.
As I get ready for church Sunday morning, as I am shuffling the kids along, my goal to be on time, I know I want to make sure my kids understand what day this is. As I form the thoughts in my head to tell them, I am stopped short.
I realized that as much as we are like Mary, we are also much like the crowds.
Cries of praise, acknowledgment, delight.
Only to betray Him within days.
And, how much Jesus is to us like He was to the crowds.
He willingly accepted their praise knowing that they would betray Him within days.
I imagine Him riding in on the donkey…smiling, waving to the people, His heart full of love.
Knowing full well how the story would go.
I am like the crowds. I cry “save me now!”…only to betray him moments later.
He smiles, accepts me, His heart full of love.
And, still allows me to be a Christ carrier.
How is it that I can be both Mary and the crowds? It breaks my heart…that He allows a traitor to be His carrier, an apostate to be pregnant with His presence.
Oh, how He loves you and me.
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life.
What more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you and me.
Jesus to Calvary did go
His love for mankind to show
What He did there brought hope from despair
A hymn, author unknown.
I pray for pauses this holy week…for you, for me. Pauses pregnant with expectancy.
Pauses when we remember that we don’t have to return every text, every phone call, or every facebook message immediately. We don’t have to tell everyone everything. We don’t have to do everything all at once.
Pauses when we remember it is our own job to insert moments of awe and reverence and thanksgiving.
There is something beautiful and sweet and quiet and wise and special and, in the end, even more thrilling in the pause…in the waiting.
And, like at Advent…we ARE waiting.
But, this time we are waiting WITH rather than FOR our Lord. We are waiting, knowing that it is coming. His death. His sacrifice. The one He made for us, the crowd, the ones who would become like Mary.
Lord, we wait. We know. We are overwhelmed with gratitude.
We tolerate the pain of remembering your death, willingly walk through the remembrance this week, because like You, we now know how the story will go.
Sunday is coming. And, so is that empty tomb.