The article of the month

The Season of Advent by Jennifer Hubbard

 Each would be met with a sharp inhale, as if it were the first and most beautiful she had ever seen. She would gather the sheep around an empty crib, tucking the baby away until the eagerly awaited eve. In the weeks that would follow, despite a flurry of activities, I would find my little one standing eye-to-eye, captivated, her sharp inhale transformed into a quiet stillness. The sharp inhale comes in those moments that overwhelm. They are when I placed my hand over my emerging belly, encountering the small soul stirring next to mine, when I run my fingers over her name etched in stone, and as I now unwrap the small figure carefully packed away. Surely Mary experienced them also. Surely it came in her Yes and as she rested her arm across her growing womb on the journey to Bethlehem. Surely it came in the sword that pierced her heart on road to Calvary. Surely Mary knows the sting of a sharp inhale. Yet Mary’s trust, obedience, and love allows the sharp inhale to be transformed into a quiet grace. It’s there as she cradles the baby sent to save and as she stands at the foot of the cross—graces granted because of the sharp inhale. A similar grace emerges as I now carefully unwrap the redhaired angel cradling a lamb in her arms, and as I nestle it and the flock beside the empty crib. My sharp inhale of this season is met with an assurance that I, too, will one day gaze upon the face of the One for whom we now prepare.

Jennifer Hubbard resides in Newtown, Conn. The younger of her two children, Catherine Violet, was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.