Advent's True Meaning: Oh, the Waiting

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Madonna of the Streets" by Roberto Ferruzzi
has always been my absolute favorite
depiction of the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother.

Recently, as I grow more to appreciate the true meaning of Advent, I've been thinking a lot about the Virgin Mary.

We sing the songs ("O Come, O Come Emmanuel..."), we say the antiphons, we light the Advent wreath, but really, there's no one else who truly experienced the true meaning of Advent besides the Virgin Mary.

Here she was, a young girl, barely a teenager, entrusted to the big task of bringing the Son of God into the world. She had said "yes" to the angel Gabriel....but can you imagine what she would have felt the rest of those nine months? Perhaps watching family members or friends disowning her for being pregnant and still unmarried, initially worrying over the reaction of Joseph, watching her belly get larger and larger, maybe anxiously wondering what giving birth or being a mother might be like.

And then, at nine months pregnant, belly swollen, tired and weary, her young body aching, she and Joseph left for Bethlehem and, even if that was the transportation of the day, bouncing up and down on a donkey while pregnant couldn't have been fun....

Advent is all about waiting for the Savior to be born.....and certainly the Virgin Mary experienced that waiting more than most.

Catholics in particular tend to portray the Blessed Mother as perfect, sometimes unpurposely giving off the fallacy that she is divine and even emotionless. But I imagine that the Virgin Mary was certainly not devoid of emotion those nine months....

Did she ever ask "why me, God"?
Did she ever wonder if the birth was ever going to come?
Did she cry over the pain, both physical and emotional?
Was she worried as they looked all over Bethlehem for a place to stay?
Was she scared?

I turn to her this Advent as I grow to appreciate the season more on an emotional level, one that goes deeper than just singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" or knowing what the Church teaches about Advent. Without going into too many details, God decided that this Advent would be different for me, that I'd be waiting for God in my own way. I've slowly come to realize that Advent isn't about simply preparing for Christmas, it's also about living in the anticipation, knowing that something is about to happen, yet also living in the moment...breathing in the moments of anticipation, of worry, of joy but breathing them in with peace, which is much easier said than done. Peace over knowing that this big thing that's going to happen, whatever you're anticipating for, is all in God's hands and that He is with you all the way, just as the young Virgin Mary, in all of her emotions, knew that God was with her during her pregnancy, both figuratively and literally.

Have a very blessed Advent....

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