Alan and I are reserving the right to change our minds at least until we see his face, but our thought is to name our new little man "Mark," so I've been reading through the Gospel of Mark in preparation: actually, I just finished reading through it last evening.
Largely because of my current status ("great with child," a.k.a., "very pregnant") and because of the significant international tragedies in our recent current events (Egypt, Japan and other islands, e.g.), the following passage in Mark 13 jumped out at me.
3And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?" 5And Jesus began to say to them, "See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and they will lead many astray. 7And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 "But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
"The end [of this world and life as we know it] is not yet.... But be on your guard." The Braxton Hicks, so to speak, are here spiritually. It's time to start practicing for the real thing. More difficult and significantly more painful things will undoubtedly (must) take place before our Lord's return, but we are now experiencing "the beginning of the birth pains."
I personally am enduring physically to the end of this school year (for me) as well as this pregnancy: only 5 1/2 weeks until induction day (yeah!), if little "Mark" doesn't decide to come before then. But the end is in sight. His bag is packed, and mine will be shortly. The car seat's already buckled in place, and arrangements have been made for big brothers Micah and Jordan-Elliot.
Spiritually, we all must be on our guard, knowing that the end is near, confident that "the one who endures to the end will be saved!"
There is much more still to come, yet we are so close. All of the events that must take place before the end could take place in a very short amount of time.
And just as there will be great rejoicing (by the grace of God) when I see my new baby's pink little face and hear his first cry, and even more so, there will be manifold rejoicing when we hear that trumpet sound and see our blessed Savior face to face.