Pregnancy is a waiting game. Two women—one very old, and one very young, both surprised that they have a child in their belly—hook up. And they experience an even greater surprise: the fetuses begin to talk with each other.
Fathers also wait during pregnancy. I experienced that five times. The first pregnancy was a surprise to both my wife and me, although I suppose it should not have been. We did agree from the day we were married, however, that every child conceived would be a wanted child. Every day of pregnancy, we would caress the mother's stomach, talk to the child, and even read stories to the child. Communication began on the first day that we were aware that my wife was pregnant. I am convinced that each of the five children came into the world already knowing her or his parents.
Dr. Burmeister, an OB/GYN in one of my parishes, also had an advanced degree in music. He did studies on babies in the womb and said that the music played during gestation most often became the choice of music in early childhood.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the gospel appointed for the fourth week in Advent, would ignite our waiting, by introducing us to a conversation between two fetuses and two mothers whose children would play such key roles in the incarnation. Waiting for the Messiah had been going on for centuries. Waiting close to the due dates surely becomes "waiting with a sure and certain hope."
We wait this week, O Lord, like pregnant mothers and fathers. Come quickly. Amen!
Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,
40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 "And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
44 "For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
45 "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."