By Sister Ellen McClure, OSF

During ordinary time, faith can slip into “glide” a bit as the Scriptures tell us parables and stories of healing week after week. These are sustaining readings and we draw spiritual nourishment from them as the cycles of the liturgical year offer them to us. But the church, seeming to sense our spiritual rhythms, invites us into Advent. As we journey through the promises of the messianic prophets we begin to yearn for the Lord’s coming in new ways.

With Mary and Joseph, we join in the excitement and anticipation of her pregnancy. Our faith and longing comes to life as we imagine with Mary the quickening life of her unborn Son. It seems natural for both men and women to be filled with the excitement of birth and parenthood, regardless of life experience. How very human and how sublimely divine is this anticipation and how blessed we are to enter it in this hope filled season.

This Advent is an opportunity to enter the mystery of the Incarnation in a new way. We have the chance to live the good news that a child is coming, that the prophecies of old are coming to life anew and even though the birth of Jesus happened centuries ago, that God’s time is always “present tense.” And let’s not forget that the coming of Jesus has a human future tense to it as well – Christ will come again!

So the Incarnation has taken place, is happening today in this Advent, and will continue until the end of time. Experience for a moment the joy and excitement of Mary’s pregnancy and childbirth and open the doors of your faith-life to these realities. Allow faith and the rest of your human experience to intermingle and know deeply the joy of anticipation. Come, Lord Jesus!

For reflection

  • How “real” to me is anticipating the birth of Jesus in Advent?
  • We eagerly share the good news of a friend or relative’s pregnancy; how do we celebrate the journey of Mary and Joseph?
  • How much do daily realities get mixed in with my faith life?