“Advent is a groaning.”

I love these words. “Advent is a groaning.” And it is.

Much of the Christmas season is a season of waiting,  a season of patience.  If we see Christmas as countdown-to-gifts, the patience takes a certain color.  If however we see Christmas as countdown-to-birth, the color shifts. When we speak of Advent, we speak of birth not gifts.

As a father of  5 beautiful children, I have heard my wife many times, while pregnant, say she was ready not to be pregnant any more.  Those comments, offered in the midst of frustration over aching legs, lack of sleep, tiredness, while serious in a sense, were not literal.  No mother wants their child to arrive in month 6, knowing all too well the complications created by an early delivery.

“Waiting” of course is not always joyous.  Much is just such “groaning.”

That is well worth remembering as we enter this advent season.  God so seeks to be born into our lives, not as a gift per se, but as a living, breathing, look-me-in-the-eyes presence.  Immanuel, God with us.

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