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A World Waiting

Quickening is when at about 20 weeks, the movements of a baby in utero begin to be felt. As I remember, it is like a flutter at first, and then as time goes on and the baby grows, it is like a gentle wave not only felt but sometimes even visible across the mother's belly. Finally towards the end of the nine months, the baby stops moving both because there is no more room (in the inn!) and also she settles into the birth canal in preparation for her arrival.

As we wait for the birth of Christ, perhaps we might compare this season of Advent to the womb...a world waiting for birth, with early stages of quickening felt like flutters, then later stages of visible movement, and then towards the end just like the baby, our world settles down and stillness surrounds us, and there is nothing to do but wait.

Pregnant with our first child and very large and three weeks overdue, I distinctly remember realizing that this condition was not going to go on forever and that what awaited me when the birth process was over was going to be a great joy. I had no idea how great a joy, nor did I have any idea how much pain lay ahead. All I could do was wait.

Again, there are so many similarities to this season of Advent. The end is drawing near. Some of us have finished "preparing a home" for the birth. Some of us have shopped, wrapped, mailed and baked. Perhaps the quickening phase is over, and it is time to settle, sit and wait. The one to be born has filled the womb, the stillness is palpable, the expectation overwhelming.

And so we move into the last week of Advent. May the waiting and the watching and the wandering and the wondering be filled with peace for you. Love is about to be born....however, though we will be filled with happiness and joy, we must remember that Mary knew well the pain that lay ahead.


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