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Sit with Mary...

"There was no room in the inn, no place for Joseph to take Mary, whose labor was beginning.

How terrifying for Mary to be wracked with pain while Joseph tried helplessly to find someplace for them to stay. Finally, they were guided to a cave where animals were lodged. "

from The Glorious Impossible by Madeline L'Engle

As most of you know, we recently had a baby in our family, just a couple of days after Thanksgiving. At our Thanksgiving dinner, the mother was so heavy with child that she had trouble walking, getting up and down, and even breathing. When I read this passage this morning, I was reminded that if our baby had not been born in the hospital, the mother might not have survived because of a rare condition. All is well now, but I give great thanks that our holy family was not in a cave.

The pray as you go app this morning suggests sitting with Mary this last week of her pregancy, and that does not mean in a comfy chair with her feet up, "eating bonbons" as my mother would say. No, to sit with Mary this week we must walk beside the donkey, help her off when she cannot ride anymore, wipe her brow and her tears. And finally help her into the cave to give birth and helping with all that goes along with that.

This picture is one of my favorite depictions of the Holy Birth that night, and perhaps it helps us sit with Mary this week with a greater sense of the struggle it must have been for her. Imagine the smells and all the other sensory experiences that surrounded them. What a sacrifice, a gift, a miracle it was for God to come and be one of us.


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