Advent is a special time for pregnant women; two of my pregnancies were during Advent. One baby was born on Christmas Eve and my youngest on Jan. 7, still in the Christmas season. We had just moved to our farm 19 years ago and the children attended a small Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8. The priest asked the children,
“Who is waiting for a birth in their family?”
Five hands went up.
“Oh my isn’t this wonderful”, the priest exclaimed, “So many of you are joining in with Mary, waiting for the birth of a baby!”
Then a voice yelled out, “No Father, those are all Juneaus with their hands raised!”
My first article on Catholic Lane went live today. The new editor of Learn and Live the Faith section, Kevin M. Tierney wrote on facebook, “Solid debut on Catholic Lane by Melanie Juneau. She talks how she went from never holding a baby to mother of 9.
I am a conundrum: a rather outmoded sort of woman, ridiculed by modern career women, vilified by the earth’s prophets of doom and sanctified by the religious right.
Our Advent Wreath this year is a not actually a wreath at all but simply a pile of cedar branches, encircling four Advent candles with a simple carving of Mary praying, carved by a dear friend. A bit unusual but fitting because Advent is a time of waiting in the dark and in silence and in simplicity for the coming of Christ, the Light of the World.
A blogging friend unearthed a variety of Advent prayers. this one resonates within me, voicing my longing and hunger for more of Christ’s Presence, for an actual rebirth in my heart on Christmas morning.
Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
I am two days early but there are so many fascinating images of Mary for the feast Immacualte Conception, that I will have to start posting now and for the next couple of days.
It is interesting which stories the secular world will like. On ReadWave a story of the culture shock on becoming a mother was chosen for the Editor’s choice page on Monday.
There was something about my baby’s open, trusting gaze that literally drew love from me. My newborn could see clearly for about 8″, just far enough to focus intently on my face. It was almost as if the initiative to bond came from my son first, especially when I consider his fierce hand grip as he clutched my clothing.To ensure that I fed him, he was born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry that literally triggered the let-down reflex for my milk, soaking my clothes if I did not start nursing quickly enough.My baby did not even have a sense of himself apart from me for the first year, his whole identity was intricately entwined with mine. On a good day that translated into an almost magical relationship of love, the strength of which astounded me; on a bad day it meant little sleep where I was unable to put him down for more than a quick dash to use the toilet or to drag a toothbrush across my teeth.
God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.