As someone who walks with women along the journey of pregnancy and childbirth, it is particularly meaningful for me to think about the things that Mary must have experienced with her unborn Christ Child. There would have been the first beats of His most precious heart and the first movements of His most Sacred blood. And in just a few months Mary must have felt His first quiet stirrings that would eventually morph into vigorous wiggles and kicks and even hiccups! Even His holy fingerprints were shaped in utero, just like ours were.
It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that this cradle Catholic started to really ponder the beauty of the Incarnation. I had often thought of His ministry, teachings, and of course His eventual Passion and death, but rarely had I reflected on Jesus as a baby—much less a vulnerable little one in the womb! Maybe that is reflective of our culture, for after all, what significance is there in Someone who hasn’t done anything yet?
Perhaps that is why I love Advent so much. It is my reminder to return to the mystery of the Incarnation: My God actually did something most incredible. He became like me in the humble beginnings of a baby in the womb. His heart first beat—just like mine. His blood first flowed—just like mine. His fingerprints were first etched in place—just like mine.
Except that one day His fingerprints would also be seen on the hands that blessed, broke, and multiplied loaves for the people. These are the hands that would heal the sick and wash the feet of his disciples. And these are the hands that would one day open on a Cross and bleed for us.
When we play with the little ones in our lives, let us think of the Christ Child, who came in human meekness to know intimately each of our joys and sufferings. May we also, during this precious time of Advent, look to the manger in anticipation of the little One who grew under the heart of Mary and seeks to grow in our hearts as well.
Karen Schultz is a Birth Doula hailing from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. You can find out more about her here.