Last year I woke up in the middle of the night with a strong sense that a woman in China was having a baby. This would be an unusual dream during most times of my life, but on this occasion, Tim and I were in the midst of a season of adoption exploration. We were taking 24 hours of required parenting courses in hopes of some day bringing home a child from China.
I may never know this side of eternity whether a woman in China was really giving birth at that moment, but the dream nonetheless created an emotional connection for me with our future adopted child.
Connectedness is what we celebrate during Advent…
God has a spiritual connection with each of us. The Scriptures say in Psalm 139 that God knew us before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs, He knows when we sit and when we lie down, He knows our words before we speak them, and He hears our thoughts.
When God sent Jesus, he added a physical bond with humanity-one that began in Mary’s womb, where vulnerability, waiting, and eventually pain attended his coming. Like all babies, Jesus bonded with Mary in utero – hearing her voice and feeling the beat of her heart. His connection with her was established even before she first held him close to her-skin to skin-, before his small hands wrapped around her or Joseph’s grown up fingers, and before they ever heard his coos and cries.
Jesus bonded with Mary & Joseph but also with all the people of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, etc. where he walked, taught, ate meals, slept, fished, healed, and loved. Advent is a time for us to remember how great God’s love for us is-that he crossed into humanity for our sake.
But Advent is also a time for us to hope for reconnection with God in a spiritual and physical way. Through Jesus’ physical death, we are able to spiritually commune with God without our guilt and shame hindering the bond. And we await with great anticipation the day when Jesus will return and we will see him face to face. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
The connection I have with our adopted child is spiritual right now, but God willing, it will some day also be physical. I know that when I meet that little girl, I am going to do everything in my power to bond with her, and I can’t wait for that day.
Even today, in the vulnerable places, in the waiting and in the pain of our lives, our bonds with this Child King can be strengthened.
May your bond with the Christ child deepen this Advent season, as together we make room for Him.