This past summer I traveled to Medjugorje with my younger sister and while we were there we saw some of the most beautiful images of Mother Mary and baby Jesus. There was something that struck me about how real and tender these images of Mother Mary adoring Jesus were. Needless to say I bought them both and have them hanging up in my house. I’ve been reflecting on these images this Advent and it has made it easier for me to mentally enter into Bethlehem with the Holy Family during those moments of Jesus’ birth. I can more readily picture the joy and the exchange of love between Mary, Jesus and Joseph. I wanted to share them in hopes that these images will help you to better experience the tender love between mother and child-a love that changed the course of human history as our Savior came into the world.
Heaven Came to Earth & Love Filled the Stable
“Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy… ; for to you is born this day… a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11).
Just reflecting on what took place on Christmas Day is hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. The son of God became a little baby-perfectly divine, perfectly human. A simple woman from Nazareth became Mother of God. An unknown carpenter became the earthly father of Jesus. I have spent time imagining both the anticipation and the struggle that Mary and Joseph must have felt. They had to endure many challenges leading up to the birth of baby Jesus-the uncertainty, the long journey, the exhaustion. I can picture Mary breathing a sigh of relief and saying a prayer of thanksgiving, knowing that every hardship was worth it as she gazed upon her sweet baby boy.
Just imagine the tenderness of the heart of Mary for a moment. She is the pinnacle of motherhood. How expansive and overflowing her love for Jesus is. Can you imagine the joy and gratitude that must have burst forth from her heart as she held baby Jesus in her arms? That tiny, innocent baby, who would one day grow up to become the Savior of the world. Look at the image of her gazing upon her son with such tenderness. The awe she has for Him. 9 months prior she had no idea that her life would be so radically changed-I can’t possibly imagine the pure delight Mary must have experienced, watching her fiat come to life through the miracle of her baby boy.
What I also love about this image is the hand of St. Joseph. I just picture St. Joseph doting on them both as he entered into his role as father and protector. Just as Mary gave her fiat to become Mother of the Savior, so too St. Joseph said yes to becoming the earthly father of Jesus. Together, they journeyed to Bethlehem, and together they both witnessed Jesus breathe his first breath, as he entered the world. I love how the image shows Jesus’s little hands reaching out and grasping St. Joseph’s. One of the first lessons Jesus teaches us as He enters the world, is how to be little, humble and dependent. He teaches us how to reach out in childlike trust and grasp the hand of our Heavenly Father.
Even in a cold stable, Jesus was surrounded by the warmth of his parents love. He felt the belonging of family. We too desire to feel a sense of belonging and love. Christmas is one of the greatest reminders of God’s love for us. As Pope St. John Paul II reminds us:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, this message of grace is today addressed to us! Listen, then! To all “whom God loves”, to all who accept the invitation to pray and keep vigil on this Holy Christmas Night, I repeat with joy: God’s love for us has been revealed! His love is grace and faithfulness, mercy and truth! By setting us free from the darkness of sin and death, he has become the firm and unshakeable foundation of the hope of every human being.” -Christmas Homily 1997.
This Advent, we get the opportunity to enter into the Nativity scene, to be spiritually and emotionally present for the birth of Jesus in our own hearts. We get to contemplate Jesus as our humble Savior. In His littleness, we get to come close to Him, gaze upon Him and delight in Him, just as His mother teaches us how to. How Mary looks at baby Jesus, with such tenderness and maternal adoration, is how she looks at each one of us. We are her children whom she delights in and looks after. Let us ask the Holy Family to help us experience our sense of belonging within the larger family of God and to feel the warmth of their love for us. We have so much to rejoice in this Advent-we have a Savior who became small for us and a Mother who loves us deeply. We belong to a family that will never stop loving us.
Prayer for Advent:
“My hidden Lord Jesus, I love You and thank You with profound gratitude for uniting Yourself with fallen humanity. When You first entered into this world, You remained hidden for nine months in the immaculate womb of Your Blessed Mother. She carried You, body and blood, soul and divinity, within the sanctuary of her body. She also carried You within her heart as a result of her perfect love for You and her perfect obedience to the will of the Father.
Precious Lord, as I embrace this Advent Season, please open my eyes to see the great value and blessing of Your Incarnation. Help me to discover Your hidden presence in this world and within my own soul. I desire to see, understand and experience the profound effects that Your Incarnation has on my life and I desire to receive those effects more fully this Advent. May I become a sanctuary in which You dwell so that I, like Your dear Mother, may bring Your presence into the world.
My loving Jesus, I choose You, this Advent, as my King and my God. I abandon myself to You and seek to put all my trust in Your tender care. Draw me close to You and free me from my sin so that I may love You with a pure and holy heart.
Mother Mary, as You carried your dear Son in your immaculate womb, you also carried Him in your heart. Pray for me, this Advent, that I may surrender myself to the will of the Father in imitation of you. You said “Yes” to all that God asked of you and never hesitated to fully embrace His divine will. Pray that I may imitate your perfect example so as to share a deeper union with you and your divine Son.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come, Lord Jesus, Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.”
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! GOD IS WITH US 🙂
2019 Drewe DeJesus
Photo from Freely Photos
Photos of Mary and Jesus taken by me in Medjugorje.