In all human cultures, pregnancy is such a sacred experience, always well received and hallowed by everyone. In
my Igbo culture, people caress the bulging stomachs of pregnant women to bless them and the babies in the womb.
But the thing that fascinates me about pregnancy is the long duration and all the changes a woman goes through.
My mother never fails to remind each one of us, her children, the kind of experience she had when she was
pregnant with us. She carried my third brother for 11 months. Think of it: eleven full months! Each time that my
brother shows signs of stubbornness, my mother would tell him that she was not surprised because he was
stubborn from the womb. Otherwise, he should have come out at the expiration of nine months, like others! We
would laugh at it. You can imagine that I did not give her any trouble. According to her, that was a sign that I was
going to be a girl, which she wanted so badly, after having had six boys already. She prayed so hard, but when I
came out a boy she was devastated. That was the greatest trouble I gave her, but not when I was in her womb.
THANK GOD! God eventually blessed her with my only sister that came after me.

I look at pregnancy and think of the time it takes to wait for life to fully develop and blossom. Female rhinos carry
their pregnancy for 450 days, female giraffes carry theirs for 460 days, and for female elephants, pregnancy is
nearly 2 years. Just to mention a few. But whether the gestation period lasts three months, four months, nine
months, or two years, it shows that wherever we find life, we have to wait for it. Farmers know that they have to
wait for the crops to go through the process of death and rebirth. Everything that gives life has to be waited for –
PATIENTLY! This waiting is for the transformation that takes place.

Everything that brings nobility and true happiness in life has to be waited for: love, faith in God, good
relationships with others, spousal relationship, personal development, good character, skill acquisition, honest
work ethic, wisdom, etc. We wait for them as we do what we are supposed to do, giving our best to what life
provides us with.

Unfortunately we live in a society that detests the virtue of waiting in patience and hope. Ours is a society of
instant gratification and “quick fix” mentality; a society of “fast food” “instant coffee” “one minute rice” readymade frozen dinners; a society of shortcut to pleasure, where kids should be given everything they want. No
wonder we often buy things we do not need; no wonder some parents are proud to dress their kids as “little sexy
girls” and “little adult boys” and so, push them into becoming adults too quickly. What cannot be waited for is
often violated. These kids quickly lose their innocence and playfulness, which are the natural graces of childhood.

Advent is a time to cultivate the virtue of waiting for life in the various ways it
presents itself. It is a time we become more aware of the importance of waiting
for God in our lives. Times may be tough, and we may be sick, or we may have
so much on our table. But it is so important to wait for the Lord. For in His
time, He always makes everything beautiful; in His time, He transforms our
pains and tears into streams of joy, gladness and healing. Through our waiting,
He gradually realigns our heart to His and cleanses our eyes to see that He has
the whole world in His hands. That is why Jesus exhorts us to stand erect
during the tribulations that may rock our lives, so that we do not fall into the
trap of carousing ourselves with instant gratifications or fretting over the cares
of this passing world (Lk. 21:36). May this season of advent fill you with the
peace that waiting in hope brings. Amen.