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Doubling Down on My Mom-ness at Advent

Christmas 1985

I’m thinking of a young lady who is going through a tough time right now. I’m thinking of a woman who isn’t so sure Jesus is the Christ. She wonders if all those Sunday school lessons were pointless. She’s a bit cynical now. I’m thinking of a woman who once loved Him – believed in a spiritual chrysalis. Knew she was a butterfly.

I’m thinking of a young woman. And you probably are thinking of one, too.

My young woman is heart of my heart. My flesh and blood. She opened my womb. I gave her life. I and this-God-she-doesn’t-remember.

She isn’t rebelling. This is not deliberate rejection of things I taught. It’s been a slow leak, like the water in the bottom of my washing machine that needs to be replaced. Like the warm air that’s escaping through the cracks in my back door because the seal along the bottom is going bad. It’s been a slow turning – like the hair on my head which is getting grayer as I worry and pray and love.

She’s so much like me. That makes it harder. A creative soul. A perfectionist. One who needs to be loved and gets hurt when love seems to be withheld.

Like when she was nearly twenty – and my love was cloaked in reprimands and rebuking. Sometimes love-that-seems-to-be-withheld is really the rawest love of all. So raw, it doesn’t look much like the mother-daughter love I gave when she was two or five or even eight.

She didn’t run off, like her sister who found the Eucharist after a reckless and rebellious phase. This one dug deep and studied and aced everything. She made me so proud – but the wall of past-reprimands made the words of praise lose their potency, until we both ached but didn’t know what else to do, what else to say.

And I was wrong.

My Advent is about giving birth, but not to a baby. It’s about giving birth to a new kind of love, a new way of interceding, a doubling down on all my mom-ness.

Because giving birth to a young woman is so much harder than giving birth to a newborn. God has to show up in a radical kind of way.

So we press on to the fulfillment of all desire this Advent. This Messiah-babe is real, and a Christmas miracle will bear that truth once more. My daughter’s enough like me that she is bound to turn that drive into a search for the Christ she once knew in a Bethlehem crib. At least I pray it does.

Lord, come quickly. Come again. Be born right here.

Maranatha.

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