Little HolyDays: First Advent

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Something from the archives today. I wrote this little reflection soon after Benjamin was born. It feels appropriate especially since I’m expecting during Advent again. Don’t forget to link up with Little HolyDays with your old and new posts for this second week of Advent (Link Up at the bottom of the page)!

I was huge. Not just big—gigantic. Even before I entered my third trimester, well-intentioned old ladies would pat my shoulder and say, “Any day now!” encouragingly as I waddled my way through the grocery store. Considering the raging pregnancy hormones running through my system, I’m impressed that I didn’t slap any of the kind-hearted dears. I was huge.

As it neared the end of November, I started wearing flip-flops exclusively because my swollen feet wouldn’t fit into anything else. I think I gave up on other footwear after one particularly bad day when my husband had to help me get my boots off as I helplessly yelled inchoate phrases about being the only woman who would be pregnant forever. My maternity coat didn’t fit anymore by the time it was cold enough to wear it which enraged me further. When I wasn’t at work, I was lying on the couch or in the bath tub trying to remember what it felt like to be able to see my toes.  Then I would see a tiny limb change position—reminding me that my massive tummy housed a moving, living child.

As December neared and Advent began I considered this season for perhaps the first time. I had lighted Advent candles as a little girl and been excited about Christmas coming but had never considered the season as anything except a Pre-Christmas countdown. I came to realize that this is as incomplete an understanding of Advent as a definition of pregnancy as simply the nine months preceding a birth.

While I tried to remember what my feet looked like, I remembered the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I confess that I had never thought much about her before. I had never felt that we had anything in common until now. But as my belly got rounder and rounder and my back got achier and achier, I remembered her. She has done this, I thought. She has felt her child move in her womb, perhaps even responding to the sound of her voice or her song. She experienced this miracle of life taking place within her.

In our modern disenchanted age we have not completely lost our fascination with the miracle of new life.  Whenever I dragged my sleepy pregnant body to public places my experience was different than ever before. Little children looked at my belly, fascinated, sometimes even trying to give my belly a pat or lift up my shirt to discover if there was really a baby inside. Other mothers smiled at me and grandmothers reassured me. My ordinary child, this new ordinary life, elicited such a response of amazement. How much more miraculous is the coming of our Lord?, I began to wonder.

For unto us a child is born.  Unto us a son is given.

I was expecting my son during the season of expectation. The word comes from expectare—to wait, to hope, to look for. I did all this things. At first there was a contentment in the waiting and the hoping but eventually the groaning, miserable discomfort led to a readiness to be delivered of the tiny tyrant reigning over me from my womb.  A week before my due date I was so exhausted and so tired of bumping the counters with my colossal tummy and getting up 10 times a night because the little angel had given my bladder yet another energetic punch, that I began to lose it a bit. I couldn’t go to work one more day.  I couldn’t fit behind my desk. I couldn’t sleep. Until the discomfort crossed a certain threshold and I was struck with a desperate desire to be pregnant not a day longer, the pain of delivery was alarming to me and I remained unprepared.  Now it did not frighten me. Anything but this. I started to understand that it is not until we are exhausted, ill with our condition, miserable, that we are ready for Christ—when we can really desire to be delivered.

I kept thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Was she as desperate to give birth as I was? I considered with wonder how when her baby boy was delivered, he would in turn deliver her, deliver me, deliver my own unborn son.

As I waited in joyous, miserable, anxious expectation, I started to understand an inkling of what it must have felt like to wait for the Messiah, Mary’s son. I begin to understand the Joy born to the world on Christmas and present with us now as I heard the sound of the first beautiful and strong cry of my newborn son. I realized in a new way how to wait with groaning and expectation for our Lord’s return in glory. It was my first Advent.

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Now it’s time for you to share your posts! (And be sure to check out some of our favorite links from last week at MollyMakesDo this morning.)

We are three Catholic bloggers (Carrots, MollyMakesDo, and Dualing Moms) who love to observe the liturgical year to deepen our families’ faith and build up the domestic church. We would love to hear about your family’s celebrations and traditions! Please join us in “redeeming the time” in this Year of Faith by sharing your posts (old or new) about feast days, liturgical seasons, etc. in this new linkup. We are starting at the beginning of the Liturgical Year: The Season of Advent!

Some topics we would be excited to read about during the Advent and Christmas seasons are (but not limited to!):

  • Sustainability and Responsible Gift Giving/Food
  • Food & Recipes
  • Simple Holiday traditions, crafts and activities
  • Reflections on the seasons
  • Charity
  • Teaching and Learning  about the Christian Year with Children

This link up will be open until Thursday evening, December 13th. There will be a new link up open on Monday, December 17th, and we will highlight some of our favorite links from the previous week in the new post, and on a Little HolyDays Pinterest board.

For the three of us, this link up is a way in which we plan on exploring and deepening our Catholic faith, but we would really love to hear from bloggers of all denominations.

We welcome you to share your own feast, festivals, and celebrations that fall within each week of December.

As moderators of this link up, we will reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic posts as we see fit, in order to maintain a kind and positive atmosphere.

So, here’s what you do:

1. Click the linky below to add your post to the Little HolyDays link up.

2. Add the Little HolyDays button (code below) to the bottom of your post so your readers can find the other great links!(If the code doesn’t work for your blog, just link to one of the hosts and don’t worry about the button.)

3. Come back next week to see our favorite posts from the previous week and link up again.

We can’t wait to read your posts and get inspired by your traditions!

 

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Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    A friend of mine commented to me how wonderful it was to be towards the end of a pregnancy during Advent last year while I was expecting. Our conversation went something like this:
    Me: oh yes, I can’t wait to be able to eat anything I want at Christmas!!!
    Her: well, I was talking about connecting on a deeper level with Mary but that too…

    Catholic fail…

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