Last night at the 5 pm Mass our family was asked to walk into the church with Fr. Tom and lay baby Jesus in the manger for the opening prayer. The irony is that exactly nine months before that - nine months to the day, in fact - we were in the same Church (our home parish where Tim and I - and each of our 4 children was baptized). But we were just visiting.
It was March 24th, the Eve of the Annunciation - when an angel came to Mary in prayer and revealed God’s plan to her. It’s the day she said “yes” to that plan, even though the details of how it would all come about were still a bit obscure.
Nine months ago, Tim and I were in that church praying about what God wanted for our family. Then an angel of sorts, named Fr. Nguyen (a visiting missionary priest), gave a homily that very clearly “annunciated” God’s plan for us. He answered every question we were asking, and then some. That day, we knew without a shadow of a doubt it was time to move home. That day, Tim and I unreservedly said “yes” to God’s plan for our family - even though, at the time, the details of how it would all come about were still a bit obscure.
Fast forward exactly nine months. It’s December 24th. We are no longer “just visiting,” but living here. Our family walks up the aisle of our home church with Baby Jesus... almost as if to take the last, few, final steps of the journey to the fulfillment of God's plan. We are surrounded by family, friends, our pastor and Shepherd, our sisters and brothers in Christ... and all seems right in the world. The youth choir sings “silent night” like angels, my husband smiles at me, and I understand, in a new and beautiful way, what peace on earth feels like.
I know it might seem like just a small calendar coincidence, but last night it felt like the Hand of God upon us. It truly felt like a new birth, new life. And my cup runneth over.
Merry Christmas, everyone. May each and every one of you experience newness and peace that only God can give. ❤️