I know it's early for Advent (well, OK, one week) but this is an Advent reflection I wrote for this year's Advent Evening of Reflection at my parish. It's gotten a good response so far, so I'm posting it here for all of you--hope you enjoy it! It's written from the perspective of Mary as she waits for Jesus to be born:
I’ve been waiting for this season ever since the Angel appeared to me that mysterious spring night in the quiet of my room. But in a way, it seems as if I’ve been waiting much longer, for my people have awaited the birth of this child ever since Abraham. The Messiah has finally come to us! He is residing inside of me…and I wait for His appearance, not only as His mother, but also as one of His followers.
I wasn’t afraid to say “yes” to the angel—I knew that if this was truly God’s work, then it was good work, and I would give my consent to have it done through me. I am not a special, gifted girl; I’m just the daughter of two devout Jews, who was raised in the Jewish faith and has tried to live it faithfully every day of my life. Yet the angel called me “blessed” and “full of grace”; even Elizabeth called me “the mother of her Lord”. And yet I am not frightened, even as these accolades are heaped upon me. I feel undeserving, of course, for it is God who is working the miracle that is taking place; I am simply the vessel for His plans for both myself and, with this Child, the salvation of my people. I am so happy to be able to serve God in this way. My waiting is clothed with excitement and eagerness to fulfill the mission God has given me. I am sure that it will not be an easy one—God hasn’t been known to do that. Did he not ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son? To have Moses lead his people through the desert? I know that there will be many trials and sorrows along this path. Indeed, there have already been some, like when I tried to explain to Joseph what had happened to me. At first he didn’t believe me, but I know that God worked upon his heart to accept the miracle that will affect both of us so deeply. He is waiting, just as I am, for this child to be born. I also feel tremendous joy, for the baby that resides in me will be the source of so much grace and happiness for so many. God has “looked upon me in my lowliness”; imagine, that He would choose someone like me—a young girl from a small village—to help Him in His works. The thought astounds me.
As I wait, I something think that this task is too large for me. God is entrusting me with the raising of His Son! Am I up to the task? I have never been a mother before, and now I am to be a mother to the greatest Child of all. The thought can be daunting. But then I remember that this is God’s work, and His plan, and because of that He will grant me whatever graces I need to be a good mother to His son. God would not entrust me with a task I could not handle. If He has faith in me, then that is all I need to rest and reassure my spirit, as I wait for this child to come.
All this waiting has also made me excited. My mother says she was excited when she was pregnant with me, and it increased as she waited for me to come. So now I grow in excitement as the time nears. There’s nothing more exciting than new life coming into being, and this will be especially so—my first child, but also the Son of God, our redeemer, coming in the world for us. That thought alone is enough to make me marvel at the wondrous work of God, and how good He is to us. This child will change the world, and yet, at the same time, he’s still my little baby boy, my child, who will change my life forever. And He will change my life in so many ways! I will watch Him grow and learn, and, with Joseph, teach him our religious faith, which will be such a joy for us. But as He grows, I know He will teach me, as well. I wait for that! It seems like there is so much to wait for, to look forward to—not just the birth, but His whole life, and how that will affect not only myself and Joseph, but also so many others; people I cannot even begin to name or know. That’s probably the best part about this waiting time—imagining what wonderful fruit will come of this blessing God has given me, and the whole world, as God gives us His son. What better way could He express His love for us?