I wrap my black wool coat around my protruding belly. The top buttons close of course, but a gap opens wide just below and it always sort of looks like I’m a lady shoplifting a basketball. I reach for my scarf, all it’s soft houndstooth goodness hopefully bringing some visual distraction from the fact that my coat does not close.
It’s the morning dark and I gather it as evidence that Christmas is in the air and I’ll be having this baby soon.
I am not one who minds the Christmas Creep; you know, the emergence of Christmas music and decor in the stores right after All Saints Day. I love the coziness and sparkle and magic of Christmas and the longer my eyes and ears get to feast on it the better. But this year I am particularly motivated to deck the halls; see, baby is due December 25.
Christmas music has been playing, glitter has been sprinkled liberally, and the hot glue gun is getting a workout, and I need these signs that birth is about to happen, just nearly here.
This little one within strains and kicks and pushes and my hand is only an inch away, and how I long to hold and kiss those feet that rest on my ribs. I long to know, do I have another daughter? Another son? Who are you, little wiggler within?
I have grown to scorn the pumpkins and mums and dried corn and all things Fall. Enough orange, bring on the red and green! Bring on the snow and the sweaters and the mittens and the cookies (ahem) and the cozy dark which wraps our houses and makes our windows little squares of warm light. Bring on the infant tucked warm and secure against me under a handmade quilt while the wild winds blow outside.
I think of Mary. Of traveling and stress and the stable and giving birth alone, far from her mother and friends who could give her support. Looking into a newborn’s eyes for the first time is breathtaking enough; how would it be to look down into the face of God Incarnate? Immanuel, God With Us. Oh, Mary, how was that?
I ordered a most special thing this year (and told my husband that it was my Christmas present from him, how thoughtful of me, hmm?). It is a handmade Advent wreath made by Caleb Voskamp, and it has 24 candle holes to mark each day of Advent in a wooden spiral. A wooden figurine of a pregnant Mary on a donkey accompanies the inward march of the candles. It has an extension too to observe the 40 days of Lent, with a wooden figurine of Christ bent under a cross. It’s quite beautiful, and I can’t wait to light the candles day by day as I anticipate a birthday and a birth.