Photo by Echo Grid Photography
I like to consider myself a liturgical person. Having grown up as a kid in the Methodist church, I get sort of geeked about shared readings, church hymnals and following along with the church calendar through this amazing little app Pray As You Go. But since I’ve spent the last half of my life in more contemporary church communities, these practices have not made their way into my life in a habitual sense. I try to follow along on my own, and my current church home, though not a typically liturgical denomination, has even been celebrating the Advent season the last few years. I mean, of all the things to honor, the message of Advent and anticipating all that it promises is such a beautiful thing to celebrate.
But I’d be lying if I said that our weekly readings and candle lightings fully incite in me that place of hopeful anticipation. I hate to say it but this time of year I often find myself trying to wrestle out the deep meaningful feelings of hope from the nostalgia-inspired magic of consumer-driven Christmas our culture has smothered all over the last two months of the calendar year. I will say that Christmas most definitely marks the time for remembering the story of the virgin birth, the brave mother Mary, the humble beginning of our saving Grace, Jesus. But those feelings, those deep true feelings of belief and hope can be so quick and fleeting amidst the holiday parties, family gatherings, and constant reminders YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO FIND THE PERFECT GIFT!
This year was different, and I hope it stays with me.
My husband and I welcomed our third son into the world ten months ago, and he is just a DELIGHT. Like, really you guys, I’ve nicknamed him Smiley Guy because he smiles within roughly 2.5 seconds of waking up and it is nearly non-stop until he hits the mattress. It is TOO. MUCH. Maybe it’s the whole last baby thing for me, I don’t know. But really, I feel like I’m the luckiest mom alive with this kid (and of course, my other boys too, what are their names again…?)
Anyways, my husband and I just sit on the couch sometimes after the boys are all tucked in and just get tickled thinking about what this little guy is going to be like. It’s a different dynamic than with our other two boys. See, we had our second son two years after our first son was born, so they were both pretty small, not fully-functioning little people for a couple years. Fast forward, now there is a four and six year age difference from my youngest to his older brothers. So we have these two very dynamic little dudes running amuck in my house while my sweet little Smiley Guy just oozes love at them while they repeatedly punch him in the groin (this literally happens everyday while one of them says “Look mom, he loves it!”)
With this new season, we’ve already seen what these sweet little babies turn into, so full of personality, likes, dislikes, gifts and talents. My two older boys are so different in so many ways, it’s crazy, and here we are with this third little boy wondering “WOW! It’s like this huge Christmas present,we know he’s going to be AWESOME and we just CANNOT wait to see who he is!” SUCH a cool thing to be a parent, amiright?
Then a few days ago, it struck me. Just like I think about my son, how on Earth must Mary have felt about little baby Jesus as she brought him into this world? At one day old, just sweet and suckling at her breast? Then at one month old, smiling angelically at his mother, the only earthly kin he had? At ten months old, giggling and wobbling around on the dirt floor? Mary, who knew this babe was divinely offered to the world as their Savior but having NO CLUE how or when he would live into this great story of hope, how much she must have anticipated this story to be told? To see her son offer life everlasting to mankind? It nearly knocks the breath out of me as I think about this, in the best way possible. Connecting my current season as a mother to Mary’s perspective back then, as the mother of our savior, is a beautifully rich experience for me. It has sparked a new sense of hope and wonder that I hope to carry through this Christmas and for years to come. A true gift I am deeply grateful for.
This time of year is indeed such a special time of year, filled with delight and joy and love. I hope you find ways to sit with this and that the mystery of it touches your heart in a meaningful way. And please, do share how you practice hopeful anticipation in this busy season!
Mojo on mommas.