Most powerful symbol of #Advent: an expectant mother! Actively, patiently waiting, worrying, wondering… pic.twitter.com/sjKH2WNHnA
— Maryknoll Missioners (@MaryknollFrsBrs) November 29, 2016
I absolutely love this picture and message. Though this is my fourth pregnancy, I have only been pregnant during Advent one other time (with John) and that was early in the pregnancy. This time around, I’m now almost 34 weeks along (anything 38 weeks and beyond is considered full term) I’m feeling much more attune to what Mary may have been going through during this same time.
Mary must have been thrilled with how things turned out for her. Not only was she not stoned or outcast from her community (definitely a plus), but her husband Joseph choose not to divorce her and still took her into his home (double bonus). Things were going well. Then, at some point during the pregnancy, a census is ordered. Because she was now Joseph’s wife, she had to travel with him to his family’s town of Bethlehem. Remember that journey she took to visit Elizabeth (approximately 80 miles) while sick and exhausted? Now she had to make a similar trip, somewhere between 70 and 90 miles, but this time with a growing baby who kicked her bladder, tried to burrow under her ribs and an insatiable need for more food and rest. Again, Mary is way tougher than I am.
Things went from comfortable to extremely uncomfortable quickly. We don’t know the exact timing of the census, but it is completely possible that the couple found out about it on one day and had to leave the next or within the week. Can you imagine needing to gather items for that kind of journey in less than 24 hours. And oh yes, you will also probably have to deliver a baby somewhere along the way or if you are lucky, after you reach Bethlehem. I love you Ben, but I think Joseph might be a bit tougher than you too =)
Waiting, wondering, worrying. Mary and Joseph must have shared these emotions with one another on that grueling journey. What if? How will we? Why now? We ask these same questions today.
In the spirit of Advent, today choose one of these questions and finish it with whatever you are struggling with or waiting for.
- What if?
- How will we/I?
- Why now?
Then, go back to the blessing Elizabeth offered to Mary. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45). Those words that must have comforted Mary early in her pregnancy would certainly continue to support her at it’s end. They are waiting to offer you solace and strength in the here and now.
***Are you starting to see how uniting our will with God’s is the key to not only getting to heaven, but to our current happiness? Even when life is swirling around us, God’s Will is ever steady. Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.