This afternoon I was struck by a thought: waiting for a baby’s arrival is very, very like waiting for Jesus’ return.
I spent some time thinking that one through, and I think it holds true in a variety of ways. One is the very physicality of the last days of pregnancy. They aren’t fun. Suffering (albeit mild in the grand scheme of things) is just part of life right now. My bones ache, my tendons ache, and the practice contractions hurt too! In a microcosm sort of way, this is at the least a very good reminder of the suffering inherent in the fallen world. I wait for the baby’s arrival, knowing that afterward there will be joy and that these particular pains will go away. I wait for Jesus knowing that afterward there will be indescribable joy, and that all pains will disappear.
Another similarity is found in my response to the waiting time. For the past two weeks, I’ve been working very hard to make sure that my life is “in order” at all times, just in case it is tonight! In the circumstance of a baby (and my own particular neuroses!) this plays out in my attempts to keep the house superbly neat at all times, and get lots of last minute “projects” done before the baby comes. I do not want to be caught off guard, caught with dirty dishes in my sink, caught with a week’s worth of laundry that ought to have been done the previous day. I want to have the shelves up in the closet and the grass cut and the wallpaper up in the bedroom before the baby comes, because otherwise it will be too late and will never happen! :)
And isn’t this the way that we ought to live our lives as we wait for Jesus to return? How common it is for us to put things off, always expecting that we’ll have another day, another week, another year in which to do them. I don’t have to pray more often right this minute, today, this week…I’ll do that when, um, I’m older and more spiritual. I can skip going to church this week because, well, I want to sleep in and after all God will understand and I’ll make it up to him next week. Don’t those sound all too familiar? I hate to admit, even to myself, how very often I’ve been guilty of thinking just that.
It is easier, certainly, for us to understand the imminent arrival of a new baby (and all that entails and how we need to be prepared!) than for us to truly realize, internalize, and act on the fact of Jesus’ second coming. And yet Christ’s coming is just as inevitable as that of the baby. Shouldn’t we strive to be at least as ready for Jesus as we are for the new baby?
Lord Jesus, come quickly. And if you wouldn’t mind, please send Thomas quickly, too.