For Advent, I have been trying to find more time to pray and "make room" in my heart to greet the Saviour at His birth. Each year around the major feast days of the Church year, I pray to see something new, to understand God better this year than the year before. Unfortunately, the Advent season has passed very quickly and I have not spent much time preparing. I have prepared for Christmas by buying gifts, making and sending a Christmas card, decorating and the like. But I have neglected the more important task of preparing to receive Christ.
Usually I try to follow the Church's prescribed fasting rule, add some spiritual reading in, and try to find a place or people to give to. Part of the problem this year is that my circumstances are so different. Obviously, with Luke, my whole life has changed. We have not been to any mid-week liturgies because they are all at night. I cannot lessen my food intake because I need to be well nourished to nourish Luke.
However, even with these limitations, there were several things that I could do to focus more on my spiritual life that I have not done. There is no limitation on giving to those less fortunate, I can always sacrifice eating sweets or luxury foods, I can pray at all hours- even at 2am or 4am since I am up then anyways.
Thinking on my life, as I usually do during the middle of the night when I am up with Luke, I realized the blessing that Advent is not yet over and I can still begin to focus on the upcoming feast. Also, I was humbled by the fact that even with my weak efforts, God has shown me Himself in many things this year. Just being a mother, and welcoming my own child into the world has taught me so many great things (as I am sure God has designed motherhood to do).
A couple of thoughts:
The self-sacrifice in giving up my body through pregnancy, labor, and now nursing to give life to Luke makes Christ's life, death and resurrection more real to me in a way that only experience can show.
Thinking about Luke in the womb and watching him adjust to life in the world helped me to think on our life after death. He spent 9 months in the womb, upside down, hearing strange noises from the outside, occasionally being poked by something. Then he was born into the world that he only had glimpses of and had to re-orient himself to his new way of life. We too will be changed after we die and pass through the womb of this life and into the next. I don't know what it will be like, but I do believe that we will have some similar adjustments to make.
Well, that is all for now. 9 days until Christmas!