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Preparation: Joy, Peace and Confident Hope

I mentioned early on that I am doing these Advent readings with my friends from my home MOPS group at Celebration Community Church in Denver. A group of us committed to reading a tiny bit of Scripture every day leading up to Christmas to keep our hearts close to the miracle that marks this holiday. We are reflecting on them in our closed Facebook group, but I’ve asked some of them to contribute their thoughts in the next few weeks here in my public spot. Here is my first (ever) guest writer, Annie Rim reflecting on today’s reading from Romans 15:4-13 as we begin the second week of Advent on the theme of preparation. If you’d like to read along with us we are following the Advent readings posted on catholic.org. And Annie blogs regularly at
annierim.wordpress.com.

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At our house, we are preparing for Christmas. The outside lights are up (though not yet plugged in); tinsel and dollar-store ornaments decorate our two baby blue spruce in front. Our tree this year looks a bit different – ornaments hang from the top third, out of the reach of small, curious hands. In some ways, only decorating the top part of the tree is perfect. When we first got married, we decided to buy a souvenir ornament from each of our travels. We have the Liberty Bell, a thistle-snowflake representing the West Highland Way, a moose from Yellowstone, the Golden Gate Bridge, a carved nut from Botswana. Because we aren’t covering the entire tree, these ornaments are enough. Little did we realize that we had been preparing for this day: A day when, in adding to our family, we needed to decrease the decorations on our tree. I love that we can focus on our family adventures when looking at this tree.

Some days, I get bogged down in the life I had before becoming a mother. I traveled; we traveled; we had adventures. Last year’s ornament is a picture of infant-Bea printed on a snowflake. We didn’t travel anywhere because we had a newborn. It’s easy to look back on my pre-mothering life and wish for those adventures. Yet, in this day-to-day of reading, diapers, messes, and legos, I need to recognize the great adventure of helping to shape a small human. The words of Romans 15:13 ring true: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Joy – Peace – Confident Hope. These are all daily feelings of motherhood. The joy of Bea running to our tree, yelling, “Lights! Tree!” each morning. The peace of naptime, of snuggles, of nose-kisses and hugs. The confident hope that even on my worst days, I am raising a daughter who knows without a doubt that she is loved.

I think of Mary, moving from waiting to preparation on her journey to motherhood. After the initial shock of pregnancy, before the journey to Bethlehem, how did she prepare? The feelings of motherhood are timeless – I am positive she felt the joy, peace, and confident hope that comes with being a mother. This second week of Advent, we move from waiting to preparation. The anticipation of the coming of Jesus is still here, but we shift from stillness to active waiting.

How are you preparing for Christmas; for the coming of Christ?

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