“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
Bear—It is a word rich with meaning. The dictionary gives these definitions for bear:
o give birth to
o turn and proceed in a specified direction
Mary carries Jesus, the Son of God, the Divine Godself, in her womb. The Light of the world was in her. Mary, by giving birth to Jesus, bears him throughout her life. Parents know that their lives are always bound up in the lives of their children for as long as both parent and child live. One never outgrows the connection with the other. Mary bears both Jesus’ rejection and his acceptance, his miracles and his crucifixion, and his resurrection. Mary bears it all, enduring the achingly agonizing death of her son, the one whose conception was announced by the angel. She remains by the cross, supporting her son with her presence, and in the Pietà, we see Mary supporting her dead son’s body.
We too are called to bear Christ, to carry Christ within us, to let Christ be born in us and in the world by the way we let the Light shine in us. Each one of us is called to bear Christ and as we do so Emmanuel happens now—God is with us.
We are the reason Christ comes. It is only as we bear Christ that Christ lives in the world among us. Advent is not only a time of waiting and watching for the Messiah to come. It is a time for us to prepare our wombs, our hearts, to bear Christ and bring forth Christ into the world. It is how Christ comes each Christmas, through the faithful preparation of our hearts to receive him but not for ourselves alone. We give birth to Christ as we are part of his work in the world.
I pray that we all, male and female alike, have wombs prepared for the coming of Emmanuel.