Many things have rattled around in my brain during the advent of Advent. I thought I might get up early every morning in an effort to create something lasting for my children… an ornament, some art, etc. Then I thought, “I need to make small drawings for my kids to color later in the day. I can do a new one each morning through advent!” Then I realized that I work five days a week, they get up at 6:30, and they are still under 5 years old. The point is, that I have so many ideas for how to celebrate Advent. So many ideas that we aren’t quite ready for. Like me wanting to read The Hobbit or A Wrinkle in Time to Maggie (age 4). Not quite there, Pa.
So, in an effort to draw close to Advent, draw close during the celebrated time of Christ doing the same, my goal shifted. What if I read through one of the versions of the Birth of Christ every day and reflected about it in whatever way I chose. Could be interesting! Should be!
Today is the first day of December and as this all begins, I’m reminded of the birth of my own children. Cloistered in the Maternity ward at the hospital, I couldn’t think of anything else but the gift of life. After the groans and pains uttered by my dear wife. After the small cries of my newborn child. After the painstaking minutes waiting to hold a small life. It was easy to appreciate life then. Easy to believe in mercy and grace. In blessings and deliverance. It is now, easy to forget. Easy to get caught up in the moments of putting pajamas on, disciplining, helping to understand sharing, reading aloud, CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!, and so many other things, that I forget the true gift, the basic gift that the lives of my family are.
So many years ago, Talia could have died in childbirth. Maggie would not have made it for sure, and Louisa… who knows. It’s easy to forget the blessing that each of them are while flipping quesadillas and trying to keep the small one from squeezing the cat to death.
What then did Mary and Joseph think when they were faced with a five year old Jesus? I can only speculate that Jesus was a scallywag like my children. Without sin of course, but a scallywag nonetheless. In those moments were Mary and Joseph reminded of the gift he was to them? Did Mary flash back to the angel Gabriel telling her that she would give birth to GOD’S son? Did Joseph flash back to the grace he was given by the angel and the mercy he was asked to bestow on Mary? I have to believe that, like myself, it came in flashes. They, perhaps, read the story of Moses, baby in the basket, and thought the same things I do now. One generation looking way back to another. and being thankful. Joseph did not have a laptop, but doubtless he had friends. And to those friends he may have said something like, “What a life it is to have children and a wife, and to have them healthy. What a grace and a mercy! What a blessing!”
… and then he’d start telling them what a scallywag Jesus was.