Four pregnancy-inspired lessons to help us observe Advent like Mary did. (Plus fun bonus tips)
We hear it over and over. “Advent is a time of preparation, like waiting for a baby’s birth.” Guess what. It’s not a metaphor! Or a simile, or whatever. Advent is not like waiting for a baby’s birth.
Advent IS waiting for baby Jesus’ birth.
Let Us Pray…
Today, my Jesus, all those years ago, Your mother Mary waited for Your birth. She prepared for Your coming.
What are some things Mary did during her Advent, and how can I learn from them?
Mary helped others
She hurried to help them. She went in haste to visit her cousin and lend a hand until the birth of John the Baptist. Even though Mary was pregnant too, she found someone who was even more in need and gave her all to help her out.
I feel You calling me to help others in need. I could donate to a relief charity. Or I could find a local family who struggles financially and buy gifts for their kids. I could give my time to a friend who’s experiencing pain in her personal life. There’s always somebody in need.
Help me to reach out selflessly like Mary.
Mary got help
She didn’t go it alone. Her husband Joseph was there to support and help her every step of the way. Together, they prepared for Your birth.
I can’t go it alone either. I need to join a community so we can grow and prepare for Your coming as a team. My husband, my family, my friends, Your Church. I know I am not alone. Help me enter more deeply into these relationships, and grow in my capacity to love.
When You come on Christmas day, I want to be ready to love You like never before.
She obediently packed up, hopped on a donkey, and rode 80 miles just days before her due date. And she didn’t complain.
Sometimes I complain about traveling on Christmas. It’s hard to pack everyone up and run around visiting when I just want to sit home in my jammies, sipping tea and enjoying the holiday my own way. But even Mary didn’t get to rest on the first Christmas.
It’s not about being a home-body and doing whatever I want. It’s about love, joy, and relationships. Like Mary, I have to be okay with the trips required of me this season. But most importantly, during Advent I need to make sure I’m traveling to be closer to You, my Jesus.
Help me to be joyful about traveling this Christmas, and let my physical and spiritual journeys bring me closer to You in Bethlehem.
How could she not?! You dwelled inside her for 9 months. She patted her belly and talked to You. She prayed for the grace to be a good mom. She thought of You every moment, with all the fervor and excitement of every expectant mom.
Help me pray to You more this Advent, my Jesus. Be always on my mind and in my heart. Remind me to ask for the grace to be a good Christian, to always do Your Will. Let me never neglect Your presence in my life.
Dear Jesus, it’s so easy to brush off sayings we’ve heard a thousand times. To treat them as beautiful metaphors and nothing else. But this Advent, let me remember we truly are awaiting a Baby’s birth. Inspire me to prepare with all the fervor of an expecting mom. Teach me to prepare for Christmas like Your Mother Mary did.
Doing Advent Like I’m Pregnant
We learned some great lessons from how Mary prepared for Jesus’ birth. But that also got me thinking… I have some pregnancy quirks that I can apply to my Advent routine. When I’m expecting…
Every item must be in place for when that baby comes. I already did this (physically) this Advent. Yep, had to rearrange the entire apartment to make room for the Christmas Tree.
But we can nest spiritually too. We need to move some things over (like Netflix) to make room for Baby Jesus’ necessities (like nighttime prayer, reflection, and Bible study).
High blood pressure equals doctor recommended down time. I don’t want to slow down, but I have to for baby’s sake. We need to slow our schedules down this Advent. In the middle of the holiday frenzy, we need to take time to sit and relax with a good book, some music down low, and maybe even a fire in the fireplace.
We can’t forget to rest spiritually too. We should take some time to get to Eucharistic Adoration and just sit quietly in Jesus’ presence.
Ice cream for breakfast. Cereal in bed. Cucumber sandwiches with sweet and sour sauce. There’s something irresistible about food during pregnancy. And Christmas cookies, they’re irresistible too. Let’s go ahead and indulge, it’s a good season for extra calories.
We should recognize our spiritual cravings too. We long for the light in the darkness. Let’s pray together: “Lord, I long for You. Prepare my heart to receive You on Christmas.”
Don’t Have Kids (Yet)?
No problem! Christmas is for you, too. You don’t have to have kids to rearrange your life to make room for Jesus, clear your schedule to get some rest, or eat an entire batch of cookies.
But if you want pregnancy-inspired Advent ideas tailored towards your personal experience, think of all those great ways you help your pregnant friend prepare for a baby. Apply one of those to this Advent season.
I love to buy gifts for new moms and new babies. There’s so much joy in giving the perfect gift to welcome that baby into this world.
This one’s easy on Christmas.
New moms always need a hand meal planning. You know it makes their day when you show up with ready-to-eat food. Spread the food cheer for Christmas this year. Invite a friend over for dinner. Cook a meal to donate. Help in a soup kitchen.
Feed souls, too. Pray for everyone who eats the cookies you baked for your annual work party.
Just like Mary visited Elizabeth. And the wise men came to see baby Jesus. And how you race to the hospital the moment you get that birth announcement. Advent is a great time to visit friends and loved ones. Bring the joy in your heart along with you.
Make it a corporal work of mercy and visit someone in need: the sick, the elderly, the needy, those in prison. Let them know Jesus’ love for them.
Can We Talk About Husbands?
Let’s have a little fun with this.
I’ve seen husbands fall into three main Pregnancy Types. Not surprisingly, their Pregnancy Types match up with their Christmas personalities.
The calm in the storm
This is my husband. As he pulled up to the stop sign near the wrong hospital entrance, I got out and announced, “I’ll walk from here.” “Get back in the car,” he calmly ordered.
He’s just as steady during the Christmas craziness. Our house is going to be a mess, and it’s okay with him. He’ll read 1001 Christmas books to the kids every night. He’ll run to the grocery store to grab eggnog when we run out. The situation is under control.
If you’re the storm, let your husband be the calm. Encourage him to take charge of the family traditions. Do your best to be joyful, take a deep breath and embrace the holiday flurry.
The all-in husband
He gets food cravings. He gains baby weight. He feels false labor pains. This guy is in tune and on board with every moment of pregnancy.
He’s 100% there on Christmas traditions, too. He listens to Christmas music nonstop. He buys gifts for everyone he knows. He counts down and announces how many days until Christmas. This husband doesn’t miss a moment.
If this is your husband, now is the perfect time to boost your marriage.
Find some fun activities to do together. Go on a date driving around the neighborhood, searching for Christmas lights. Have a Christmas music dance party in the living room. Reawaken joy in your marriage along with the joy of the season.
Pick a name? Later, honey. And he doesn’t want to hear any gross details about your doctor appointment. You can wait another hour to go to the hospital, right? And the icing on the cake: he’ll take a nap while you’re in labor. No big deal, he doesn’t need to do anything till that baby comes out anyways.
He couldn’t be less into Christmas either. Trees don’t belong in the house. He’ll change the station if you turn on Christmas music while he’s around. Party? Over his dead body. And you’ll be lucky if he even puts coal in your stocking.
If your husband is the Grinch, don’t berate him. He just needs a little more room for his heart to grow. Go gentle on him this season, and make sure you’re making time for him. Invite him to participate, but remember that Christmas isn’t about trees and stockings and cookies. It’s about the joy and love of Jesus Christ.
And you can share that with your husband with or without Christmas traditions.
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