Expected in the Unexpected

This week, as we continue in the season of Advent, we focus on “expecting well” throughout the many seasons of life.

By: Natalie J Plumb

Advent can be a truly beautiful season full of hope, waiting, expectation, anticipation, preparation… These “not-too-exciting” stages are fulfilling when embraced. However when not embraced, they seem to drag on, like watching the junior varsity before the varsity team. When I have embraced it, the season of Advent has taught me not only how to patiently await the coming of our Lord, but also how to handle these humbling emotions well.

Be Born In Me Mary - Francesca Battistelli

I feel especially blessed to have encountered a very real expression of “expecting” for the first time this year. My friend, now mother to a boy just over a week old, taught me through her pregnancy what expecting really looks like. As she grew to expect her son, I continued to reflect on the quote I referenced in my last blog. Namely, it was overwhelming to realize that God was planning this baby’s future as it was to unfold before him; God was literally stitching her child together in her womb.

Advent - Expecting

My friend’s pregnancy reminds me of this beautiful song by Francesca Battistelli, “Be Born In Me.” Along with the video clips this YouTube user put together of the Nativity, the lyrics are stunning:

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow of an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He; blessed am I.

That might be my favorite verse.

Advent carries with it expectation for the Son. But during Christmas and New Year’s Day, we often lose sight of that expectation for Him, and get caught up in expectation for presents, food, sales, grandchildren, owning property, engagement, perfect family reunions, first kisses when the Ball drops… It can be overwhelming. Everything inside me cries for order.

The transition to the chorus is stunning, teaching us how to respond well, through the example of Mary:

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Jesus truly wrapped Himself inside the unexpected when He came in a manger, in the middle of nowhere, through an otherwise unknown virgin, into a poor family, in the midst of hay. Like Mary, may we simply trust in Christ’s coming this Advent. May we not be caught up in expectations of circumstances being more favorable than they are. May we instead sing a response akin to that of Mary when she was told to expect the Savior of the world:

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

May our hearts prepare to welcome the King of the Universe. May they be vacant in expectation of the all-fulfilling Christ.

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