I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Last night I officiated at a very lovely wedding for a very lovely young couple. They were younger, even, than me! I have noticed that this happens more often lately... After the service, I was asked by a few congregants how I was doing. This had little to do with the service but with something else. As you may have gathered (and some of you already know), my wife and I are expecting our third child any day now.

When I say "any day", I of course am referring to the week-and-a-half before the due date when you just can't stand another moment. Everyone is exhausted (especially "Mrs. Unity") and all is in place. All there is left to do is wait. I have the week relatively off. Clergy readers will recognize this state as "On-Call" or "Study-Time". That wedding was the last set appointment on my schedule for some time. Now I must put the crib together, assemble the changing table, and distract the kids (it is February Vacation), while Terasa Schwartz and the Rev. Liz Magill cover for me in the pulpit. Come on kid! This is the time!

Its amazing to me how distracting real waiting can be. During Advent and Lent we try to practice this a bit. We have projects like buying presents or giving something up. Now, however, it is a little less spiritual and quite a bit more practical. Maybe that will change, but I am not the kind of expectant dad who can say, "this looks like a great time for self-improvement!"

Actually, I am more likely to become an absent-minded curmudgeon. I told my wife, for example, that I can no longer go to Babies "R" Us because the last time I was there it was all I could do not to go and lecture a couple of first-timers. They had lined up all the different "Diaper Genies" (a trash can that makes little sausages out of disposed diapers) and one of them had actually used the term "aroma" unironically. Poor kids...all they can do is learn to love the smell. Meanwhile, I can rarely find my keys and my work schedule has become something of a maze of complexity.

Of course birth, itself, is (among other things) profoundly religious, but it is not quite as orderly as Advent. There is no slow-stately donkey-ride. There is, as far as I can tell from past experience, a shortage of wise folks bearing gifts. The due date, too, doesn't quite correspond to the actuall birth day. The big moment sneaks up on you like a chronological ambush. That makes it hard to plan those pesky pre-birth rituals. It is why Santa only comes once a year.

I will need to go get some books, both for my wife and for me. We are both big readers. As the moment approaches (whenever that is) and immediately following, we will want to pretend we have time to read. Also, I will take some time with 1&2 Kings. I have been meaning to read them again but haven't. No, will be fun! Otherwise the older boys and I will work hard to keep from going crazy by way of walks, trips to Boston, and playdates (for them). My people aren't all that great in the patience department. Still, we will wait. Then the real fun begins!