The Meaning of Advent (Part 1)
[Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two part blog story. Check back to read Part 2!]
The seasons of our spirituality bring us closer to our faith. It strengthens our intimate relationship we have with God. Advent is a time for us to open our hearts to joy. Lent brings us sorrow of the suffering Jesus endured for us and asks our hearts to self-reflect of how we can be better or do better. Advent brings us joy, excitement and love.
The winter of 2014, I was pregnant with our daughter Vivian. This pregnancy had taken us by surprise. Nathan and I had suffered two miscarriages. Our hearts were confused and mourning when we found out we were expecting a baby to arrive in early January. I was scared and worried the entire pregnancy. Our first child, Everett, was 5 at the time. I filled our summer and fall with lots of lists. Lists of lasts things to do before the baby comes. Lists of last things to do with just Everett. Lists of doctor appointments to ensure a healthy baby. Little did I know our baby was working on teaching me a big lesson.
As Thanksgiving came I began making more lists leading into the holiday season. I had lists of all the cookies I was going to bake. Days were marked off the calendar when Nathan, Everett and I were going to go Christmas shopping and when to go see Santa. Lists for groceries covered my kitchen counter. Days were marked on the calendar for holiday events we were going to attend. I felt “prepared” for Christmas. I had plans of setting up my Christmas village again because I knew it would be a long time before I would be able to do so again with a new baby in the house. I had plans for when I would begin taking out Everett’s old baby clothes after Christmas preparing for our new baby’s arrival. There was one very important list I forgot to make. The list of preparing my heart for Jesus’s arrival.
Both of my pregnancies with Everett and Vivian were high risk, which meant many doctor appointments of monitoring and re-monitoring. The day after Thanksgiving I had a doctor’s appointment. The visit was monitoring if the baby was under any stress. Every time I felt the baby move I would hit a button that would make a mark on the monitoring with the baby’s heartbeat. Everett and I sat in the doctor’s office together snuggled up in the reclining chair together. Every time the baby would move I would tell Everett and he would press the button. His small hand he would press on my tummy hoping to feel the baby move. Everett and I talked about how later we would be going to the Santa parade in Little Falls. We talked about how the baby would be coming after Christmas in January. He shared with me his Christmas wish list for Santa. He giggled with me when he was able to feel the baby move. We shared our guesses with each other if the baby would be a boy or a girl. We talked about the fresh fallen snow that day. I remember how much I enjoyed being a mom in that moment. I remember thinking how caring Everett was at only 5 years old. I remember thinking how I needed to make sure Everett had the best Christmas that year. It needed to be perfect because it would be his last with just him in the house. I had no idea in exactly one week, all the planning and lists would mean absolutely nothing. In exactly one week my center would become refocused.
Vivian came into the world on December 5, 2014. Six weeks before she was supposed to. The morning I left I remember as if it was today.
Part 2 Coming Soon
— Brenda Rudolph is a wife, mother, and dairy farmer in central Minnesota. She writes regularly about life with her family on their dairy farm on her blog Raising A Farmer.