Over at Dani's blog this morning she asked the question, would we even notice the mother of the Christ Child if we crossed paths with her today? Piggybacking on that, I can't help but wonder would our heart's "inn" be too full of commercialized merriment to recognize a purple haired girl, covered in tattoos, and perhaps wearing a nose ring, as the Madonna?
In addition to trying to get ready for Christmas, I'm also planning for our church's 5th baby shower to collect gifts for needy moms and babies. The idea was born after thinking about that 14 year old girl who was chosen by the Divine One to give birth to the Savior of all mankind. Unlike Princess Diana who was hand picked to be the mother of the future King of England and followed from day one by a montage of photo-crazed papparazzi, Mary and Joseph journeyed alone to a place far from home and family to deliver their baby in a stable. Sure they was surrounded, as the story goes, by angels and shepherds, but there is no mention of womenfolk to hold Mary's hand, wipe her brow and help her labor. Good golly, that had to have been scary.
Sadly, 2 thousand and 10 years later there are still teenagers all over the world giving birth in scary situations. Babies are being born in Native American hogans without running water; in African huts to mothers with Aids; in war zones. Babies are being born and thrown in dumpsters or never given a chance to be born at all. Yet each mother a Madonna and each child carrying the same breath of life as the one born in Bethlehem.
To paraphrase Mtr. Theresa, "if you can't clothe the whole world, clothe just one." This is the humble goal of the Guild of the Christ Child's ministry. We will collect clothes, food and blankets for needy babies right here in Jacksonville. Last year we gave away almost 100 layettes. And every single time I handed an expectant mother a gift wrapped box I imagined myself standing in line waiting to present my humble gift to the holy babe in the manger.
I wonder what would this season of waiting be like if, instead of hustling and bustling from one store to another, each of us took the slow road, like Mary and Joseph, to the stable where love was born? By slowing down, would we then be able to see the face of God in harried store clerks, haggard mailmen or raggedy strangers with no bed to sleep in?
What if we stopped to breathe in deeply the pine scent of a Christmas fir before covering up its simple beauty with lights and ornaments. What if we stopped to share personal holiday greetings with one another instead of waiting in line at the Post Office behind a stack of boxes grumbling because the line is so long? What if we turned off the TV and listened instead to tunes like Silent Night? What if we gazed up at the night sky and picked just bright star to wish upon. What would your wish be?
As you go about your busy-ness in the weeks ahead, please think about those who are less fortunate. Won't you consider donating a small blanket, knit cap, or box of diapers to a shelter near you? It won't seem like much, but you just might be saving a baby whose life is destined for greatness.
Wishing for you a slower pace and the blessings of the Holy Comforter,
This picture came from: http://www.ecva.org/exhibition/venite_adoremus/artists/eggenberger_1.htm