For the last week, I have been sick… really sick. I thought I was just catching a cold, but before I knew it, I was laying in bed, wrapped in the covers, high on Nyquil, surviving on saltine crackers. (Not how I planned to spend the Thanksgiving holiday!) Just when I thought I was getting better, things took a turn for the worst. I couldn't get warm. I was constantly shivering. My head was pounding. And all my innards were sore from the painful coughing fits that lasted far too long. Never before I have been so aware of every.single.breath. I had to breathe just right if I didn't want the coughing fit to take hold of my body. Every breath I took for about 24 hours was measured, shallow, calculating. It was exhausting trying to make sure every breath brought peace.
Though I wish I could push the reset button to recover Thanksgiving with my family, I am looking forward to this season of Advent. I have never recognized the Advent season before, but it seems fitting to start it feeling rather breathless.
I imagine that when Mary stood before the angel, chosen to carry the Light of the World into the earth, she was probably a little breathless. I imagine that when the shepherds finally arrived at the scene of Jesus birth, they might have been a little breathless. I imagine Joseph, staring at the son he didn't produce in full faith that Mary really did have a holy conception, must have been breathless.
There are so many emotions wrapped up in the story of Christ's birth.
A child conceived out of wedlock.
The whispers of town folks and magnificent prophesies.
The doubts of Joseph followed by their reunion.
A wearying journey. No room indoors.
The wondrous fear and joy of a newborn child.
The astonished looks of shepherds told to come by a chorus of angels.
Its all so strange. So emotional. So complex. Its so much like… life.
On this December 1st, as I prepare my heart to celebrate Christmas, I am thankful for a God wrapped in flesh, who chose to enter this messy, messy world. I am thankful for a God who leaves me breathless with wonder at what might be next in the story.
I am breathless.