Daily Reflection
December 30th, 1999
Joan Howard
University College

1 John 2:12-17
Psalms 96:7-10
Luke 2:36-40

We have journeyed  through the season of Advent, a time of expectation, anticipation, joy, and initial fear and anxiety.  I think that the season of Advent truly does resemble the pregnancy of women.  I know most assuredly that as a perspective mother, I had fears associated with pregnancy - fear of the unknown, fear the physical trauma that lay ahead, fear of parenthood.  For the most part those fears were overshadowed by the joy and anticipation of new life and the wondrous miracle of birth.  For me, the birth of each child was followed by a period of peaceful solitude - sort of a transition between pregnancy and life.  A time to marvel at the miracle of creation, the gift of life, the birth process and my own sacredness in being called to be the mother of a specific child.  Just like Mary, I was called specifically to be the mother of one of God’s beloved children.

Today’s readings are lovely ones beginning with the transition from pregnancy into life beginning with the poetic words from the book of Wisdom:  When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run half of her swift course, your all-powerful word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven…

And where did the Lord come to rest?

Scripture tells us the Lord came as an infant, born to a virgin.  In the gospel reading Luke tells us that He grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him in a family setting.  The lord came to dwell among us in a setting we can all identify with - the family.  Families come in all shapes and sizes.  But, there are no exceptions.  We have all been children in family.  Christ can identify with our earliest experiences; being nurtured and loved, learning to love and forgive, to question, to give, and take, to ask and give thanks.  Christ has indeed sanctified family, possibly his first anointing was to the family.  We are called as family to recognize our sacredness and to be aware that it is within our families that we encounter the Lord.  He is there in the joy of birth, the routine of our daily activities and in our times of sadness and grief.  He is there in the poverty, pain, violence, and struggle of family. 

As our family of seven has dwindled down to a daily family of three it is often difficult to think of the three of us as family when the rest are missing.  I have to remind myself that family is whomever gathers around the table, rides in the car, assists with the chores, argues and forgives, gives and holds back, loves and prays together.  Family are those who are far away.  Those who hurt and can not forgive.  Those who are wandering out of touch.  Whatever our description, whatever our experience, as family we are sacred, blessed and anointed by Christ.  In family, Christ dwells with us.  In today’s readings we find hope.  Christ dwells in the mess and routine as well as in the joy and beauty of our families.

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