Our Advent Journey to Christmas
Read time: 5 minutes
This year the end of our Advent journey is somewhat rushed because we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve on the same day.
In the Sunday Masses we read Luke’s Gospel describing the Annunciation, the angel’s announcement to Mary that she was going to bear a child. Then at the Christmas Eve Masses, we read Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 2, describing Jesus birth.
This was Mary’s life. One day she was a young single girl with no worries, then the Angel told her she was going to have a baby and now, here she is, almost in Bethlehem, her baby due to arrive at any time.
During this week, another of the Gospel readings told the story of the angel appearing to Joseph to tell him that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit, and she would bear a son who Joseph would name Jesus. Joseph did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. What an example of obedience and trust in God!
As for us, we are continuing along our Advent journey. We are beginning to realize that we are almost there. Just like Mary and Joseph travelling along, were realizing they were almost at the end of their journey to Bethlehem. What thoughts were going through their minds? Both had been obedient, trusting in messages from angels. But now?
I imagine that Mary was tired, and Joseph was worried. This was Mary’s first pregnancy. They did not know where they were going to stay. Mary was nine months pregnant and had travelled on a donkey for a few days. (It is approximately 130 Km from Nazareth to Bethlehem). She must have been exhausted, uncomfortable and likely scared.
All pregnancies are unpredictable and like all mothers before and since, Mary was not exactly sure when her baby would arrive.
When they finally arrived in Bethlehem it was packed and whatever accommodation Joseph thought he had made, as we know from Luke’s Gospel, nothing was available. Eventually they had to settle for the stable.
By the time they get to the stable, Mary’s labour must have begun. The intense pain of labour and giving birth to her first child, with only Joseph to help must have been very difficult. Joseph and Mary knew the birth might take place on this journey so they would have bought all the necessary supplies with them. But still, giving birth in a cold, dark stable?
I like to think that some thoughtful person who had noticed Mary’s condition or who had heard Joseph being turned down for suitable accommodation, would have brought a light out to the stable. Maybe some extra blankets? Perhaps even a hot meal for the family because I am sure that in Bethlehem, just like in Grande Prairie, there were kind and generous people who think of the needs of others and notice when help is needed.
Mary and Joseph, like all new parents; must have felt great relief and joy when the baby they had been waiting for was born safely, healthy and strong.
They put their complete trust in God and everything worked out. The celebrations began in that cold, dark stable. The shepherds came. The sky was lit up with an angel singing!
As we come to the end of our Advent journey, our Christmas celebrations can begin.
After four weeks of preparation, just like the Holy Family in Bethlehem, let us truly celebrate Christmas in Grande Prairie.
Let us thank our heavenly Father for giving us the Saviour, let us thank our heavenly Father for giving us the examples of Mary and Joseph who were obedient to God’s will and had complete trust that everything would work out. And it did.
Let us praise and thank God and celebrate Jesus birth together.
Christmas Blessings to Everyone!