I recall when I first discovered I was pregnant. Wow! A new life was being formed in me.

Moments of wonder accompanied those first flutters of life and those disarming kicks against my insides. Little by little, my clothing didn’t fit and my shape was changing.

As the months went by, it seemed the time moved slower. Since my baby wouldn’t be born until November, that meant getting through the hot summer.

However, there isn’t much one can do but wait. Persisting in the waiting with a happy countenance (no matter how uncomfortable you feel!) as you count down the days may seem endless. However, a joyful attitude lightens the waiting.

As a new mom-to-be, I kept myself busy with all the little preparations for the baby’s arrival and this helped pass the time.

When the long-awaited due date arrived, the baby said, “Wait!” I walked, danced and kept busy hoping it would hasten his arrival. Not so.

Ten days later, in God’s perfect timing, my son was placed in my waiting arms.

I can only imagine Mary’s wait as she contemplated being the Mother of Jesus. How often did the Angel Gabriel’s announcement ring in her ears as we see in Luke 1: 30 NKJV, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.”

Already betrothed to Joseph, she must have wondered how he would take the news that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

Yet, she humbly responded to Gabriel, “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

Instead of preparing a nursery as I did, she took a celebratory journey to visit her relative Elizabeth, pregnant in her old age with Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist.

She persisted in the waiting by deepening her faith and gathering courage to face Joseph and her family. Yet, another journey awaited as they traveled to Bethlehem for the census.

It’s easy to forget that our traditions and celebrations don’t resemble that first Christmas.

So, as we cover our tree in lights and decorate to proclaim the Lord’s birth, let’s remember that the lights of that first Christmas came in an awe-inspiring way to the shepherds as we see in Luke 2: 9, “The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.”

The waiting was over for now. But this was only the beginning for Mary. Selah

Jan Merop, a columnist with the Highlands News-Sun for 30 years, resided in Sebring for 28 years; now living in North Carolina. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan @ pauseandconsider.net.