What To Expect When You’re Expecting

December 8, 2010 | 20 comments

I once knew a young woman who didn’t know for several months that she was pregnant — or maybe she was just ignoring the obvious.

I feel the same way about my world. Are we pregnant but unaware?

It is Advent, and the whole cosmos is expecting. But am I paying attention to the glaringly obvious?

Just this week, I had my head in the beauty-shop sink, its cold porcelain lip cradling my neck. My hairdresser turned on the sprayer, rinsing color down the drain. I overheard the client in the reclined chair next to mine answering the most oft-asked question of December: “Are you ready for the holidays?”

The client told her hairdresser that she’d almost finished her shopping, but hadn’t wrapped presents yet. The Christmas cards were addressed, but needed to be mailed. Her husband had strung lights on the trees, and she planned to bake all weekend long.

So, yes, she was mostly ready for the holidays. And this was how she knew …

But is this how we really know we’re ready — by the number of completed trips to the Target cash register?

Is this how a pregnant woman knows she’s ready to be a mother: If she has the nursery decorated, the infant-formula lined up on cupboard shelves, the baby announcements printed, the onesies folded?

Does this a mother make?

What if we treated the Advent season like we really treat our pregnancies? What if I prepared my heart and body for the coming Christ in the same way I approached the birth of our children?

What if I treated The Scriptures like I once treated my copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting?” I pored over those pages, dog-eared my favorites, memorized the contents.

What if — the next time someone asked me if I’m ready for the holidays — I would simply answer: “My heart is ready for the glorious coming of the Christ.”

Maybe you’re like us here on the Lee family farm.

Maybe you’ve been seeking more of the Real Christmas this Christmas. Maybe you’re looking for The Christmas that you can’t find on the shelves at WalMart.

Yes, yes! We are, too! We want The More!

Shall we share our ideas? (How we’d love to hear from you in the comment box.)

And might we share a few ideas with you — ideas we’ve picked up from others who have sought “The More?”

BABY BOOK FOR JESUS: Memories of the Bouncing Baby Boy Born in Bethlehem

This year, inspired by the kind folks at
http://www.rotation.org/, I created a mini-book entitled “Baby Book for Jesus: Memories of the Bouncing Baby Boy Born in Bethlehem.” It is similar to the baby books many of us fill out for our newborns.

I printed copies for each children in our Sunday school. We are going through the booklet, page by page every Sunday leading up to Christmas.

Together, we ponder Jesus’ firsts: When might the Son of God have first smiled or slept through the night? What do we suppose His first word was? Where did He take His first step? When did he first roll over, crawl, lose his first tooth?

We consider his nicknames — Savior, Prince of Peace — and we explore Scriptures to learn more about his first visitors and his first out-of-the-house adventure.

(If you have Microsoft Publisher, I’d be delighted to send you a copy of this booklet to print for your families or Sunday school classes. Send me an email using the CONTACT ME button in the upper lefthand corner of the blog.)

***

TRAVELING TO BETHLEHEM

We are also taking the journey to Bethlehem, one day at a time. We move our Nativity figurines — Mary, Joseph and the donkey — step by step along painted paper “stones” to the manger scene. Each day, the figures move one step closer. The baby Jesus remains hidden.

We are also encouraging extra kindness in our home this December. Each time one of our family members commits a random act of kindness, he or she is invited to take a piece of straw to line the stable. When Jesus arrives on Christmas Day, the barn will be lined with kindness. (Thank you Ann Kroeker for these wonderful ideas!)

Below are links to other blogs and websites with thoughtful ideas on how to refocus this season:

Ann Voskamp and her family celebrate Jesus’ birthday — but not by exchanging gifts. Here’s a look at a family who celebrates without the wrapping paper. This is powerful, challenging.

Ann Kroeker shares great ideas for celebrating Advent with families. (This is where I first read about the Traveling to Bethlehem activities.)

Michelle DeRusha writes about “saying no” during Advent, as a way to open up the heart to the great big YES of Jesus.

LisaJo @ The Gypsy Mama is literally pregnant during this season of expectancy. She has a series of Advent posts, and here’s one that is perfect for moms who seek a slower, lower-pressure pace.

The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at the High Calling writes “What Gives Order and Meaning to Your Life?” It’s an informative piece on why we celebrate events on the liturgical calendar, such as Advent.

And here is a link to Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional. It’s free — like grace!

Today I join Ann Voskamp with her Walk With Him Wednesday series. As a community, we consider: The Practice of Christmas. How Do We Prepare for the Coming of Christ?

by | December 8, 2010 | 20 comments

20 Comments

  1. Andrea

    Trying to dismiss the chaos of Christmas and focus on my Savior!
    Hugs,
    andrea

    Reply
  2. thegypsymama

    Thanks for including me in this list. I've learned so much from this amazing community of mothers who are working so hard at being deliberate during the Christmas season, as opposed to being just up to date on our lists. Amazing how freeing it can be!

    Reply
  3. Tea with Tiffany

    Love this..so glad you are focusing on what matters most.

    Merry Christmas!

    Thanks for the links too.

    Love,
    t

    Reply
  4. JC Dude

    Terrific ideas, thoughts and musings! Thanks for the reminder of where our focus should be and how we can lead our families. God Bless!

    Reply
  5. Angel

    This is great! I posted yesterday about my own inner wrestling with how to make Christmas "more". More meaningful, more Christ-centered. But here you have given some wonderful resources to help with that. If you don't mind, I think I'll copy a link to your post over there. Blessings!

    http://findingtheinspiring.blogspot.com

    Reply
  6. Shaunie Friday--Up the Sunbeam

    I love the idea of comparing our preparation for Christmas to the kind of focused and tunnel-visioned preparation a mother does for her child on the way–very rich! I wrote today about keeping it simple–even if there is a lot to do to prepare, we can keep a very simple and single-minded spiritual focus on the Christ of Christmas. He's too beautiful to take our eyes off Him!! Thank you for this Jennifer!!

    http://upthesunbeam.blogspot.com/2010/12/simple-simplicity.html

    Reply
  7. Runner Mom

    Jennifer, these are great ideas and links! Thanks so much. I use Rotation.org when researching Sunday School lesson plans too. They are wonderful.

    Headed over to Ann's blog now.

    We also "hide" baby Jesus until Christmas morning. Even though my boys are bigger, it's still part of our traditions.
    Hugs!
    Susan

    Reply
  8. Kari

    We don't exchange gifts. We believe it distracts from the true meaning of Christmas. We light candles and read verses to each other. We don't allow the devil's consumerism on our Saviors birthday.

    Reply
  9. Jeanne Damoff

    I love your Baby Book for Jesus! The photo of the crayon-wielding hand writing "December 25, 0000" made me smile all the way down to my frozen toes. (We keep our house way too cold for my taste.)

    I don't have little ones in the house any more, but tomorrow I'll be sharing some thoughts on advent at The Master's Artist (http://www.themastersartist.com) and some words of thanks on my blog. (http://jeannedamoff.wordpress.com) I think you might recognize someone in the list, Jennifer. 🙂

    Love, Jeanne

    Reply
  10. Charity Singleton

    Jennifer — I love all these ideas, and I love that you and your family are being deliberate and slow and reflective this Advent. That's what makes this season most meaningful to me – taking time. I take time to write, to light the candles, to read, to sing. I have been blogging each day about Advent and linked up to this wonderful post today. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Nancy

    So…I adopted my babies, and don't really connect with the pregnancy stuff. But. I started thinking about the arrival of my children which was more like, "Ready or not, here they come." Without the stuff, the nursery. Truly, when they came, we had no place for their heads. So, I still think I'm agreeing with your post–the need to look beyond the stuff, the need to look for what is real and true. BTW–had a similar reaction at the hairdresser today–overheard lots of talk about buying gift cards because who knows anybody well enough to know what anyone really wants. Made me think about your comment at my place earlier about the loneliness of women and the desperate need to know and be known.

    Reply
  12. Linda

    I enjoyed every bit of this Jennifer. I have come to so much of this a bit late – the nest being empty. However, there is still one tradition that even my grown-up children look forward to – the birthday cake for Jesus. After the big family dinner, we bring out the cake, light the candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then the little ones get to blow out the candles. It is a little reminder, amid the bustle of the day, that it is His birthday we are celebrating.

    Reply
  13. alicia

    Great ideas Jennifer! We are trying to find ways to turn our hearts to HIM and the joy that only HE is bringing us this season.

    Reply
  14. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    This is great Jennifer. One thing we did this year in our family – my husband and I plus our 3 grown daughters and their families – we drew names and then each gift has to be something that is made by our own hands. It has been just amazing and so much fun. It has really helped us to keep our eyes on Jesus.

    Reply
  15. The Soap Sister

    Hi Jennifer, thanks once again for such an inspiring post! (I'll be contacting you re the Baby Book -what a GREAT idea!) At our house we do the Jesse Tree, and this year we're doing the activity (found on this blog) of moving Mary, Joseph and the donkey throughout the house. It's so simple and yet so meaningful. Thank you thank you!

    Reply
  16. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    Love it Jennifer! You are so wise. I love the Baby book for Jesus. I may have to do that one next year.

    I have several speaking engagements during Christmas this year and I'm trying to focus on helping women seek Christ. My motto has been, "Christmas can drain you, but Christ can fill you." I've been encouraging women to use their Christmas stocking as a reminder to allow Christ to fill their souls every day so they can then pour out to others in a more healthy and cheerful way.

    Reply
  17. Connie Mace

    "My heart is ready for the glorious coming of the Christ."…amen…love this answer!

    GOD's Peace to you,
    Connie

    Reply
  18. Sharon

    Why do we say "thanks" on the last Thursday in November and then the very next day begin a mad dash to consume, buy, purchase and want more, more, more – all in so-called celebration of the birth of our Savior?

    This year I decided to head-off the wanting that so easily takes over my heart. I have decided to stay focused on being thankful by posting something I am thankful for each day until Christmas and let the true reason for the season take place in my soul.

    Reply
  19. Graceful

    Jennifer you write straight into the heart of Christmas here. I love what you say about preparing for the birth of Christ as we mothers prepared for the births of our own children — yes! I never thought of it that way before, but it's the perfect analogy.

    And thanks for linking to me, too! 🙂

    Reply

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