My daughter, Mary has been with child throughout this Advent season and her pregnancy has added special meaning to this time of waiting as the Church prepares to celebrate the mystery of God entering human history. This season of anticipation and preparation is when Christians ponder in their own hearts what it means to have hope come into the world through the birth of a child. My daughter’s rounded and growing belly has been a dramatic reminder to me that God has not yet given up on humanity. Somehow in spite of our sinfulness and hardened hearts, the God who graciously loved us into being still believes that we humans will seize the repeated invitations He graciously offers us to grow in freedom, wisdom and grace.
In the quiet of prayer, I am reminded, too, of the night over two thousand years ago when the woman for whom my daughter is named, gave birth to the child that is the Savior of the world. It was indeed the night of nights, and the shepherds were right in the praising and glorifying God. But on that holy night, I imagine Mary was most likely a tired young mother whose labor had given way to the radical act of the self-emptying of her womb. Surely, when Joseph laid the baby Jesus in her arms, she knew a love that passes all understanding as she gifted the world with God’s only Son. In this Christmas season, may we come to share Mary’s deep love for humanity.
May we remember that God has not given up on us but continues to let His face shine upon us and bless us. May we know, in our heart of hearts, that Jesus the Christ is always in our midst, ever born anew, always renewing the face of the earth. And finally, may we be open to ways we can partner with Holy Spirit as the Good News of God’s love and mercy is rained down upon on our broken and wounded world.