Saturday, November 29, 2008

Entering into a pregnant time

I love Advent. It always makes me feel closer to Mary, this season of waiting for the birth of the Child. I suspect any woman who has ever been pregnant shares this feeling at this time of year, although one certainly doesn't need to have had a child to understand this time of anticipation and waiting.

I think of Mary's courage in saying "Yes" to the angel as all Creation held its breath, for God would not have acted without her consent.

I think of the young Mary engrossed, as are all pregnant women, in the changes in her body as it goes about the business of growing a baby. I ponder the fact of this one woman, the one person in all humanity who could actually truthfully say, 'This is my body, this is my blood," for it was out of her being that the infant Jesus took his human substance.

Mary & Joseph by Judy Gibson King
Mary & Joseph by Judy Gibson King

Yes, this is a season for reflection and dreams, for prayer and contemplation of the wonder of a God who was willing to come to us as a helpless newborn baby, a God who loves us more than we can know or imagine.

For those of us in the continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, this Advent season will be a special one. Like all pregnant times, this Advent will be a time of acknowledging that change has brought some losses. But those losses pale before the sense of anticipation, of hope, of delight in the work we have been given to do.

Since I had time today, I made our Advent wreath with greenery from the garden and candles from last year. It sits on a side table in the living room of the Farm House, holding place of honor for the next four weeks.

I also put out an Advent Calendar. This calendar has a magnetized scene of the barn at the Inn in Bethlehem that is surrounded by small numbered drawers. in each drawer is a little magnetic item, either a star, a sheep, a shepherd, a king, a camel, a donkey, a cow, or Mary, Joseph and, of course, in the very last drawer, Baby Jesus. My grandsons love opening the drawers each day and taking out an item to begin creating the Christmas Story on the board. It's especially fun when they haven't been here for a few days and so get to open several drawers in order to "catch up."

And then there is online Advent Calendar of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. This is the fifth annual such calendar. Here's how Jim Naughton describes it:

"In addition to the usual seasonal content, this year’s calendar features videotaped interviews with young people who have benefited from the work of the terrific Bokamoso Youth Program in Winterveld, South Africa.

"The calendar, which will live here, goes live in the wee hours of Monday Dec. 1.

"Since its founding in 1999, the Bokamoso Youth Program has helped hundreds of young people survive and thrive amidst the poverty, crime and despair of the AIDS epidemic. Until recently, the program was funded by the Anglican church of South Africa but the overwhelming social needs of the country brought an end to that support. The program now relies on donations, and we are trying to help insure its future. Every $1,500 we raise through the calendar will be used to pay one year’s fees for one student at a community college or technical college in South Africa. You can learn more about Bokamoso through the links on the calendar. "

I urge you to visit the online calendar every day. It will feed your soul as it gives you an opportunity to feed others in body, mind, and spirit.

I wish you all a holy Advent.

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