Only days until Christmas. How is that possible? Aren’t we all feeling like we just put the swimsuits away and bought our school supplies? Time marches on, and the older we get, the faster it goes, and we sometimes feel like we are being steam-rolled by it. Chances are, we are also feeling like failures.
Perhaps we are woefully behind in our Christmas shopping, or we can’t seem to think of the right gift for that particular child, or our spouse, or we bought store-bought cookies for the teachers because baking just wasn’t happening this year. Or more likely, we feel like failures because we feel we have done nothing to prepare for the Lord, the precious baby Jesus, who comes to save us all from sin and death, and ourselves. This year we swore we would do more to prepare; we would spend more time in prayer, more time at adoration, and confession; we would structure Advent for our families and make sure they really knew why we celebrate. And yet, here we are, five days until he comes, and we feel exhausted, and a little empty, and perhaps a bit unappreciated, and our hearts do not feel ready.
The truth is, no one works harder at Christmas time than moms. We shop, we plan, we decorate, we work hard to make it magical and memorable. We make sure the food is delicious and the house is clean; we welcome friends and family; we fly on planes and ride in cars with infants and toddlers, and mopey teenagers, and we may think we do it all because we love our families, but that is only part of it. Our outpouring of love is our preparation; it is our outpouring of love to the One who came to save us. Jesus humbled himself and came as a baby. It doesn’t take much for us, as mothers, to take that in and to realize what he truly did for us, and what it means that he chose to be born of a woman. Subsequently, we can give him the same Fiat his mother gave and ask only that his will be done in us.
Our vocation is so important, so crucial to the salvation of the world that God himself was born of a woman! We participate in the divine every day when we foster a deep love for God in our children, and we foster that love by showing them consistent, beautiful, self-giving love over and over again.
Hopefully, we can slow down a little, stop and be with the Lord, help our children stop and remember what it means that he came, and how grateful we are for his coming. But if the days blur together and we find ourselves at the bottom of a giant pile of wrapping paper unsure of how we got there, we can know that God sees the work of our hands and the deep love we have for our families in our hearts; he sees our Fiat and he rejoices.