2nd Sunday of Advent – 2009
The Holy Family, even before the birth of Jesus, struggled as many Christians do today. Bring yourself back to the Annunciation and the realization that Mary was with child. It was not a “joyful” occasion for her family or for her betrothed, Joseph. It was a disgrace to the point where Joseph considered abandoning the woman he was about to marry. ‘Twas only through the message of an Angel that Joseph stood by Mary’s side and promised to take care of her and her child. What courage this man had, to take action, knowing people of his own faith could turn against him!
Mary struggled with her innocence and early pregnancy and went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. She needed guidance and support and she needed to share her joy with someone who could share it with her.
We do not know much more about Mary’s confinement. But we do know it was a period of expectant waiting and we know that Mary gave birth to a son as God asked her to do. Mary lived in a time of great uncertainty and tremendous turmoil. Yet even in the final month of her pregnancy she accompanied her husband on a long and arduous journey to Bethlehem. Without complaint she rode on a donkey over hot and dusty roads. She suffered the added concern that she had no warm safe place waiting for her at journey’s end.
Mary knew she was to give birth but she did not know the time or the place. Her child was to be born in a place far away from where the Angel Gabriel had spoken to her, far away from where she had expected to give birth, far away from her comfort zone. Mary brought forth her child, her gift to humanity. We will never be able to create such a gift but God has asked us for a very special gift. He has asked each one of us to give the gift of self.
Mary gave birth in the most humble of places. An important lesson! Greatness in the eyes of God comes from the persons and places of greatest humility, humility of body, mind and soul.
- How can we achieve a life of humility in times of great plenty and courage in times of serious doubt?
The Holy Family, Joseph and Mary, are with us during this Advent Season. They have already made the journey. Pray to them for guidance asking that we be, as they were, full of courage and faith … so that we may also deal with the trials and uncertainties of life and become aware that God and God’s Angels will guide us through the turbulence to bring into being, through the birth of Jesus, the birth of our own gift.
— John and Barb Barron – PBVM Associates