Preparation and Anticipation
In the week leading up to the first Sunday of Advent this year, I had some definite practice in waiting and anticipating the birth of a babe! With our second granddaughter due anytime, we wondered if we would be heading out of town on Thanksgiving Day, that weekend, or even later…
It was a week of preparing! Knowing once we made this trek up north for the birth that we wouldn’t see our daughter Allie, son-in-law Thomas, and granddaughters again until baby’s Baptism after Christmas, there was much for which to plan! We packed gifts for baby’s birth, Christmas presents for each family member, a birthday present for Allie who was born in December, and a miniature St. Lucy doll for Lucy, our oldest granddaughter, who would celebrate the feast day on December 13th.
Then, there were meals for which to plan. I chose recipes, packed ingredients for soups, pork roasts, and desserts–all the comfort foods I could think of for parents of a newborn–and JB found space in the truck for our luggage and all the other items!
As it happened, we headed out of town on the 1st Sunday of Advent, and by
Monday our Evelyn (Evie) Josephine had arrived, all 9 lbs, 3 oz of her!
Holding Evie one evening (she so loves to snuggle and nap), I was reminded of the first time holding her sister Lucy, and it brought back an experience I had in prayer earlier this year. I was with a prayer team, and they’d asked me to recall a memory for which I was thankful and then to ask Jesus where he was in that moment.
In that memory of first holding Lucy was when that the Lord revealed to me the true nature and depth (in a very palpable way) of His love for me. Just as when I’d first met and held Lucy and gazed down at her and she looked back at me, the Lord’s love is that pure exchange. There’s no hurt or woundedness between us as there is inevitably in human love and relationships; each moment is as filled with His same glance of adoring love as that first exchange between me and Lucy (and then, in this new moment, as with me and Evie). His love is pure, constant, and complete. He can’t love us any more than He already does. His love is perfect like Him.
In my grandchildren, the Lord has given me a powerful glimpse into his deep love for me…and for each of us. And perhaps it’s in that that the Lord chose to enter the world as an innocent, helpless, vulnerable babe. It is love we can relate to, we can hold it in our arms, and we start to just begin to fathom the depths of its perfection. My grandchildren bring great joy to my heart, and from that joy so easily flows love.
So back to the initial preparing and anticipating. Was it all necessary? Was it all worth it? Of course! It was in these moments that I prepared myself to take care of my family, love on them, help them comfortably welcome this gift of love, all 9 lbs., 3 ounces of her, into their lives.
On this Gaudete Sunday, this third Sunday of Advent, we are called to further prepare ourselves, to reflect on the JOY that the Lord’s coming (and presence here with us now) brings. And as we near Christmas, it so naturally flows that next week’s focus is LOVE. As we continue to ready our hearts this Advent season, as we anticipate the birth of our Lord, let’s take time to pray, “Lord, reveal to me the depths of your love.” For it is our joy in that knowledge and revelation that we can take out into the world…and it is that sharing of the Lord’s love that converts hearts. What better gift can we receive and give?
May your Advent be blessed!
Director of Parish Life