In a recent sermon (and Daily Cup) my colleague Matthew asked us, “What kind of Jesus are we waiting for this Advent?” Another colleague’s Daily Cup (Sonya, of course) was titled “Singing Songs of Expectation.” Waiting and Expecting. Boy, Advent is sure upon us! With no intent to provide commentary or analysis of my colleague’s recent posts, is Jesus someone we are waiting for? Or is Jesus someone we are expecting? Expecting is surely a perfect word for Advent, given the birth narrative in The Gospel of Luke: When the pregnant Elisabeth praises the pregnant Mary for her faith Mary responds… Magnificat anima mea Dominum!
In 1992 Rowan Williams wrote a great sermon for Lady Day (the name of the feast day for Mary in the Church of England). From the sermon’s conclusion: “Whose story is this? It is the story of the woman we celebrate today, the story of the women we celebrate tonight. We shall celebrate better though, if for all of us there is a spark of recognition here. Some at least of this is the story of every Christian, called and gifted, hopeful and frightened by the Word they must learn to give to the world.”
Paraphrasing the former Archbishop: You and I – the faithful – are pregnant with a Word of God. The Word is hopeful and a little frightening. But the Word we are called to give birth to is also our own, special, precious, and unique Word.
Gestation is the process of carrying or being carried in the womb between conception and birth. So what part of our faith journey is both hopeful and frightening? What is growing inside us? We need not run out to CVS or Walgreens for a pregnancy test. We are pregnant. We are pregnant by faith; pregnant with a Word of God. Gestation is not typically an Advent word, but maybe it should be, that is, if our souls too, will magnify the Lord this Christmas.