We’re now well into the second part of Advent. One of the sadnesses of our secular society is everyone’s saying ‘happy Christmas’ and yet that is still to come. I don’t want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas, but do think we’re missing something if we don’t celebrate Advent properly. It is a time of waiting.
I think back to those who wait. What must it have been like for Our Beloved Mother. Oh how my heart goes out to her! Because we love her so much, it’s easy to forget she was just a young Jewish girl having a baby. She’d already had the problem of explaining all that to Joseph – and until the angel revealed the truth in the dream, he’d thought of putting her away. Our society is so free and easy in these matters it is hard for it to understand how it was for that young girl, pregnant, and not by her betrothed. There would have been sniggers and gossip – we know that there were rumours about her having been raped by a Roman soldier- this would have been really horrid for a pure young woman. I don’t know we can recapture how hard it was for her – and we should love her all the more for going through this for us. Now she was simply waiting.
I say ‘simply’, but what could have been simple about knowing your baby was the promised Messiah. Bosco is a dear, but sometimes he’s a bit of a silly. Of course Mary (or Miriam) accepted her fate – God gives us all free-will. But it was a long journey and she must have been tired – she was near her time, and like all first-time pregnant women, she’d have been worried. But by this time she could nothing but wait.
We wait with her. We know what happened, we know the story so well, but if we use our imagination, we can put ourselves into that first Advent. The Church does it through the ‘O Antiphons’ We sing them at Vespers – they never mention Jesus by name, but they speak eloquently of his attributes as ‘the root’ as ‘the word’ as ‘wisdom’ and, finally, as the longed-for Saviour of the world. How wise the Church is. It knew not to spoil the anticipation – it makes us wait, as Our Lady waited, as the unknowing world waited – until, on the midnight clear, the Angelic host proclaimed that Christ was born in Bethlehem. The Word who had breathed the world into existence, became a suckling babe at his mother’s breast.
For that moment, God was made man and dwelt among us – and the Light came into the World and the World knew him not. But his mother did. So let us be with her now in this last week, awaiting the Son of Man, and let us be thankful to her, because she took on herself the mission she was given. Every women will know what it means to want to be a mother, and how you want only the best for your child. But Our beloved mother Mary was waiting for the Saviour of the World. Let us, too, wait for the Man of Sorrows who took away the sins of the world.