As well as being a theologian, Paula Gooder is also a mom. She weaves those two perspectives together in her book The Meaning Is in the Waiting:
“As I waited for the birth of my baby, I discovered that waiting can be a nurturing time, valuable in its own right. Until then, I had assumed that waiting could only be passive, that it involved sitting around, drumming my fingers, completely powerless to do anything until the moment of waiting passed and I could be active again. How wrong I was. The waiting of pregnancy is about as active an occupation as one can hope to engage in .
“One of the other things I learned during pregnancy was that learning to savour the time of waiting allows us also to appreciate the event when it comes. The loss of an ability to wait often brings with it the inability to be fully and joyfully present now. Instead, we are constantly looking backward to better times we used to know and forward to better times that may be coming. The more we do this, the more we miss the present . . .
“It also becomes hard to appreciate the future moment even when it does come . . . We live forever in the future, so that, when the future becomes the present, we are ill-equipped to deal with it and have lost the ability to be fully present, right now.
“One of the many reasons we wait in Advent is to hone our skills of being joyfully and fully present now. After a month of doing this, Christmas Day can gain a depth and meaning that would otherwise fly past in a whirl of presents and mince pies.”
The season of Advent calls us to such “pregnant waiting”: not passive, disengaged “waiting” for we don’t know what but waiting that anticipates the future in the present that realizes that we make our futures now. The experience of waiting enables us to realize what we appreciate, value and cherish; waiting teaches us how to be present and attentive to family and friends; waiting opens up our vision and spirits to realize the love of God in our midst. This Advent season calls us to embrace the wisdom to be realized in “pregnant” waiting: to slow down and see the goodness of God around us that we rush by too quickly to see, to behold Christ in every moment of compassion, forgiveness and joy we experience in the everyday Advent of our lives.