As we dwell in these final days of Advent, perhaps we, like the expectant mother of Jesus, feel weary.

So. Very. Weary.

Perhaps we are tired of all the commercial Christmas hub-bub, the pressures and obligations of the season, fake news and news so true we wish it were fake … we are tired and fed up with waiting. Waiting for Jesus to come.

Last May I found myself standing in the bathroom stall of a Top Golf in San Antonio, Texas, tears streaming down my eyes and feeling the same way. I was crying so hard I couldn’t stop. I was sick and tired of waiting.

My husband and I were vacationing with our dear friends from college and their lovely children. The only childless couple in the group, we saw their beautiful, growing children and craved that for our family.

It had only been a few months since we’d started trying to conceive. I’d wanted to start earlier, but that fall, when I stopped taking my birth-control pills, my body revolted. My adolescent skin problems and mood swings came back—with a vengeance. The only thing that hadn’t returned? My period.

It was baffling and a bit scary, but my doctor assured me my problems were common. “Wait a few months,” she said, the last thing I wanted to hear. Despite her reassurance, I waited—impatiently and fearfully—concerned my body would never get back to normal.

By the year’s end, my period came back, and with it, my hope.

But the wait wasn’t over. Months passed, and I waited, again, this time for a different sign of change.

I’ve always thought God has a better sense of humor than the Bible lets on.

It’s funny—those uncontrollable tears of pain, envy, sorrow that very moment in May, those tears were a symptom of the thing I wanted so desperately and didn’t know I had—a baby.

After we got home from our trip, I was surprised and delighted to discover I was expecting. It was a miracle.

For anyone deep in the throes of trying to conceive, a positive pregnancy test could only be described as a miracle.

Hundreds of years earlier, in circumstances quite different, Mary discovers from the angel Gabriel that she is pregnant. I wonder how she felt when he broke the news, that she, a virgin, was carrying the Savior. She must have been so startled and a little afraid.

Yet, once Gabriel answers her questions, she responds by saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

How I marvel at this part of the Christmas story! Surely Mary knew the judgment she’d face from friends and neighbors, and her fiancé, Joseph, with this unexpected pregnancy. In her great faith she rose above those fears and responded in joy. She knew her son Jesus would come to change the world. One day.

But first, waiting.

This Advent, as I’m expecting, Mary’s journey has taken on new meaning for me. As Christmas approaches, I’m 34 weeks pregnant and couldn’t feel more weary—physically, emotionally and spiritually—both from the weight of the baby growing inside of me and from the weight of this year. I’m tired of waiting.

Lately it seems that there is just so much darkness in our world and not enough light. There are countless people in the U.S. and around the world who are without a place to call home, who are hungry and hurting and without jobs, who are vulnerable and abused, who are trapped by war and terror, who are trapped by discrimination and hate.

I’m afraid of raising a child in this world that seems so broken it’s beyond repair. I’m afraid of the future.

I’ve never felt so in need of a Savior. And I’ve never felt so ready for Christmas, no, not even Christmas, let’s skip ahead to Easter and the resurrection instead.

I need hope. I need light.

Do you need it too?

Christmas is coming. Christ is coming.

In the form of a tiny, vulnerable baby, Christ will come. A miracle for us all.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).

Erin Strybis
Strybis is a content editor for Living Lutheran and member of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago. When she’s not writing, editing or chasing her toddler, she loves practicing yoga or getting lost in a good book. Find more of Erin’s stories on Instagram (@erinstry) and her blog, www.erinstry.com.

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