On this day forty –some years ago, at least two mothers I know sat in hopeful expectation of the birth of a child. The first mother already had three little ones at home. This, the delivery of her soon-to-be fourth child, carried a greater reason for concern. There had previously been complications, and, if her doctor had had the final word, this child would not have been created at all. The risk to both mother and child for a successful delivery was greater than he felt comfortable delivering. Nevertheless, a child was soon coming into the world, and despite her doctor’s fears and concerns, the mother held out hope and confidence that this child would be delivered safely into the world.
The second mother had one child at home and was eagerly looking forward to the experience the delivery this second child promised. For the delivery of her first child, her husband had been absent due to the growing conflict –many called it war—in Vietnam. At that time, she’d had to wait six months before even introducing their first-born child to his father. Now, the war had ended, her husband was home, and this baby would know the loving gaze of both its parents, right from the start.
In both instances, there was much to celebrate: obstacles overcome, milestones reached, dreams realized and the simple reality of promise and hope soon to be held in their arms. Both instances also had very real doubts about the possibility of it all working out. What if something is wrong with the child? What if the child or the mother doesn’t survive the delivery? But these questions would only be answered by moving forward through the process, when the time was right. Waiting and worrying were hardly productive. There was only room for hope and promise now.
Remarkably, (or perhaps not so remarkably, because most days we take it all granted) the first mother went on to have a healthy baby boy, and the second, a healthy baby girl.
Almost twenty years after their births, these stories merged where few would have guessed. The boy and the girl grew up, met, and fell in love. They went on to have three beautiful children and as normal a life together as anyone could hope for them.
This month at our house, we celebrate the birthdays of those two babies born so long ago.
The boy was my husband.
The girl was me.
As I reflect on these stories today, through the eyes of my mother-in-law and my mom, I am reminded of the expectant hope in all of us this Advent season. May we wait with the same quiet confidence and joyful hearts of soon-to-be mothers everywhere.
And may God continue to reveal himself to us all in ways we never imagined!
Happy birthday, Ted!
Photo source: Google search, artist unknown