Waiting To Give Birth With Mary


One day in December, our new priest led an Advent reflection in the school gym and asked the students, “Who is waiting for the birth of a new brother or sister this Advent?”

Five hands went up.

“Oh my, isn’t this wonderful”, the priest exclaimed, without really identifying each face, “So many of you are waiting for the birth of a baby with Mary.”

Then a voice yelled out, “No Father, those are all Juneau kids with their hands raised.”

We had just moved to a larger house on a small family farm because we discovered I was expecting our ninth child. My oldest had started high school while five others attended a small, Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8.

I must admit, as a woman, I have an advantage over men. Since I was pregnant for two of my children during Advent,  I can identify with the pregnant Mary in a deeper way. One Advent baby was born on Christmas Eve and the second, my youngest child, on Jan. 7,  the day after Epiphany.

b74bc8db5ce8d6c93c3a6d37bd2f284c

Mary, a Human Mother Yet Mediatrix of All Graces

Mary must have experienced what all birthing mothers experience the moment her baby was born;  all women forgot the exhaustion and pain of labour the moment we hold our newborn. However, I imagine her joy was even more profound because all the angels were rejoicing around them.

Imagine Mary gazing into the eyes of God Incarnate and soaking in His love. Why, there is something about even an ordinary baby’s open, trusting gaze that literally draws love from us, never mind looking into the face of the Infant God.

cd2cd5f8e140eaf93082dcecf6c6403b

A newborn can see clearly for about 8″, just far enough to focus intently on an adult’s face. It is almost as if the initiative to bond comes from the baby first, especially when I consider their fierce hand grip they clutched fingers and clothing. To ensure mothers nurse, babies are  born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry which literally triggers the let-down reflex for milk, soaking clothes if  mothers do not start nursing quickly enough.

Babies do not even have a sense of themselves apart from their mothers for the first year because their whole identities are intricately entwined with mum.

57fcf4119c187b757ea266967244c3f4

I would think Jesus went through this same stage of development. No wonder Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces; she soaked in the love of God as she nursed and held newborn Jesus and now simply allows this Divine Love to flow through her to us.

 

I Can Be a Counterpoint of Light with Mother Mary

I can choose to turn my eyes to the child Jesus in silent expectation, waiting to be filled with hope because it is Advent, the brink of Christmas, a celebration of light, joy and peace on earth. If we are open and humble, the flames of the Advent candles will shine as beacons of hope in the darkness, symbols of the Light of the world who will come on Christmas morning.  I can welcome light into my inner darkness.4f3935eba1b0f41b2032ffa1fb8177fd

 

Yes, Advent is a time for waiting with Mary in the darkness for the birth of the Christ Child.

 

It is a time to silently listen in expectation.

It is a time to sweep away the clutter in our hearts and souls by simplifying our lives to make room for a re-birth in our own hearts for this child called Jesus. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.200 By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”201

8d6d4f6bb1ccf86fedcf1ee404dbc4f1Look to Children

We all secretly long for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light and should look to our children to teach us how to wait for the Christ Child to be born anew in our hearts. They trust and believe the words of both their earthly and heavenly Fathers. Think of a young child, eyes twinkling, barely able to sit still and contain his excitement because he knows that his dad will never give him a stone instead of a loaf of bread. No wonder Jesus tells us,

“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 18:4

Advent Prayer

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.

2 thoughts on “Waiting To Give Birth With Mary

  1. So much of this resonates with me. Right now I am expecting my Advent / Christmas baby. It’s a beautiful way to unite our pregnancy with the coming of the Lord, and a way for the children to experience anticipation as they wait for their brother to be born.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s