The Annunciation - Henry Tanner
This second Monday in Advent finds me thinking about Mary. The young woman is a mystery to me -- partly from the sheer incomprehensibility of her circumstances and partly from a well-bred Protestant phobia of all things Marion. But, tonight, I spent some time looking at pictures of her. And trying to imagine.
Twelve years ago, at this very hour, I was in the deep throes of labor pains with my fourth child. A second baby girl (although we didn't know it, yet). She who is born at Christmas -- Natalie. As I recall, Brian was sound asleep on the couch, the television was blaring some late night sports talk show but I was gripped in spasm after anguished spasm and could not leave the recliner chair to get up to turn the blasted thing off. So I lay there -- breathing in and out and in and out and in again -- and telling God I'd be happy to just go back to sleep for the night and start up labor again in the morning. Thankfully, He did not answer that prayer and within three hours I was holding my daughter in my arms, studying her little Murphy chin, trying to describe her across the phone lines to far-flung family members. Becoming alive -- natality.
These things I remember. Mary's experience I can not imagine. I hold her in high regard.