Monday, December 12, 2011
.Twenty eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I saw this quote on a little plaque. My pregnancy was unplanned and extremely stressful as I was not yet married to my son's father. So this little plaque was especially meaningful to me and I bought it for "Terry's" room. This quote seems to be coming to mind as I prepare this year for Christmas. I've been thinking about how the message was not only true, but powerful in my own life as a mother. I didn't grow up thinking I was a princess as many young girls do, dreaming about a wedding and children and happily ever after. I felt strong, independent, full of life, plans and ideas. After years of that independence, I became a mother. Don't get me wrong, I was happy and excited about the baby, just afraid. But the graces I received through this child and the other two beautiful children I was blessed with, Eric and Dana, are immeasurable. Even from the child I miscarried, Joseph Anthony, I continue to receive and give love. Those babies were pure love and innocence, and their dependence upon me was so natural, exciting, and strengthening. A child is a sign of hope and proof of God's miraculous plan. I could go on forever about each my children, how beautiful and unique each one is - the great times and the struggles - every day another new start, sharing my life intimately. But as we approach Christmas, I keep thinking about how a baby changes everything in your life. We celebrate baby Jesus coming every year. His coming into our lives personally changes everything. He opened heaven back up to every person ever born or ever will be born. He is that pure innocence we are gifted with and is part of our family. We have the same bloodline, just like our own children. That relationship is so strong. He changes us, gives us hope, helps us realize the goodness in others and even in ourselves. In a way, he depends upon us like our babies did. He depends upon us to just be open to Him, just love Him and be loved by Him - just like our babies - no expectations or judgement. Some people equate that unconditional relationship with animals. Animals are surely a reflection of that but I think we sometimes recognize it in them because we have been so let down and hurt by people. All of creation is a reflection of God's beauty and power. It is all a gift to let us know joy and help us through this life. The greatest gift can come to us every day in the Eucharist. The greatest gift, as we celebrate every Christmas, is baby Jesus. These reflections are a blessing to me and I hope to you. Let's think of baby Jesus, treat Him tenderly and RECEIVE Him in that pure way this year. A baby changes things - Thank God.