Posts tagged ‘Advent’

December 14, 2011

Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me

Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot of tough news in our circles. Friends have lost a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather, and just yesterday we learned that friends of friends lost their two-year-old son. He went to sleep Sunday night and didn’t wake up Monday morning. What grief, what pain.


As we remember these families in our rosary each evening, I am struck by how fleeting life can be, how quickly it can end. Since Jacob was born, this sort of news, and the idea of our family without John or Jacob—or me—can frighten me so much I am almost paralyzed. We need to make the most of every moment. Should I have been cross with Jacob when he didn’t listen earlier? Should I have spent the afternoon working and only occasionally reading to or playing with him?  Was it really more important that dinner was made than that I gave Jacob an extra eight million hugs?


But living lodged in fear that way means not living at all. Jacob needs to be disciplined, because we have the hope of his living a long and happy life. I need to do my work, because I have been blessed with a fruitful business and it is my responsibility to help it to grow. And let’s be honest, we need to eat.


When I think of someone ill or passing, I can’t help but think of the moment that person was born and the moments that person’s children were born, if they were a parent, too. How little we can think of the end of life when it is so new, and rightfully so, of course. But when you have the perspective to look back on a whole life like that—wow. It brings you to your knees.


In considering this and reflecting on what the season of Advent means during a walk around the park yesterday, I could only think of how much more I need to live the joy in my life. Being mired in the fear of what could happen, what someday will happen, means not being truly grateful for what is before me, in my home, in my arms, in my heart.


To make that more tangible for me, the other side of the coin is making itself known in our prayer intentions as well. Our list of families who are expecting children is approaching the status of litany.  And while this is no comfort for those who have lost loved ones recently, there is a very important breed of hope embedded in there.


A couple of lines from a hymn have stuck with me this Advent: “How silent all rebellion! / How loud the angels’ praise!” In the end, there is God and there is love, and all the rest will pass away, so I’d better praise what is worth being praised every chance I get.


If you’re interested in helping out the family who lost their little boy, here’s a link to a fundraising effort through the end of the year:

December 15, 2010

The Light of the Season

Advent is probably my favorite liturgical season: it is filled with great anticipation and yet with tremendous joy.  Not only is a baby to be born, but the child is to be the Savior of the world!


Experiencing pregnancy this year has given me a special opportunity to consider Mary’s life in the months leading up to Jesus’ birth.  When I felt ill, I thought about whether Mary had morning sickness, and how she handled it.  When I felt the baby kick, I thought how much more amazing it must have been for Mary to feel the Son of God in her womb.  Although my child is not God himself, he is a gift in much the same way Jesus was to Mary.  How blessed we both are in our motherhood, to have the primary responsibility to care for one of God’s children and the beautiful experience of living God’s love as a parent.


Especially because I have a baby boy, now I find myself often looking at Jacob and how I interact with him and wondering what the same sort of situation looked like between Jesus and Mary.  I wonder, did Jesus fall asleep easily at night, or were the first couple of months difficult for him and his earthly parents?  How old was Jesus when he started to smile?  What did Mary and Joseph do to make him laugh? Was Jesus a small baby, or did he have cheeks that seems to double in size each day, like our Peanut?


Watching my little one squeaking and talking to a toy on the floor in front of me right now, I am grateful for this glimpse into a time of Jesus’ life that is rarely discussed.  It has helped me to be more patient with myself and with Jacob.  God really does understand every part of our humanity—He lived it!  It is incredible to recognize the face of Jesus in this little guy every day.


Babies really do help you to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life—if you let them.  This weekend, we got our Christmas tree, and after John put the lights on it, we showed it to Jacob.


I admit that most of Jacob’s waking time is devoted to gazing at whatever kind of light in within his range of vision, but I found a deeper meaning in his fascination with the lights on the tree.  In this very busy season, he was delighted by a simple string of lights—and isn’t that what Advent and Christmastime are all about?  Finding joy in the simple reality of the Light in our world, which dispels darkness and offers peace.


“In Your light we see light.” (Ps 36:9)


What a joy to celebrate Advent with a little boy, and how grateful I am for a renewal of faith in my motherhood!  Amen.

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