Statue of Mary and young Jesus

Dec. 8, 2022 | Sandra Coles-Bell | Today's Readings

"During this dark time, I again reflected on my life in correlation to Mary’s. How did she endure this pain that no mother would ever want to survive?"

As a woman and a mother, I often reflect on my alignment with Mary — how at times I emulate, and other times diverge from, her perfect willingness to trust God in every action.

When I contemplate the Gospel of the day, where the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to announce the conception of Jesus, I think about my own “announcements” of my pregnancies. Each is special and significant in its own right, making a profound imprint on my life and my actions for the following weeks, months, and years. 

I had my own “angel” announce the conception of my last child in the form of her older sister, who, at the age of three, walked up to me, pointed to my stomach, and announced, “There’s a baby in there!” 

Stunned, her father and I looked at her, and asked her to repeat what she had said. She did so without hesitation and with more determination: “There’s a baby in there!” 

As the old saying goes, out of the mouths of babes! 

I worked in a hospital laboratory then, so getting a pregnancy test was relatively easy, as this was before home testing kits. I was stunned to learn that she was correct; I was, in fact, pregnant. Her definitive declaration felt like a miracle, as my previous three pregnancy announcements had been met with miscarriages and great sorrow.

In no other time and space in my life had I had to trust in God as much as I did during those months of waiting and praying to conceive — that is, until I had to encounter the death of my own child. 

During this dark time, I again reflected on my life in correlation to Mary’s. How did she endure this pain that no mother thinks they could ever survive? 

I could only keep my eyes on her and all other mothers I had known who had buried a child. I shared their pain, their memories, their wondering what their child would have been like at a certain age. I sought to emulate their trust in continuing life with their remaining years on earth, not losing their faith nor their spirit.  

In these days of Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Jesus, let us also remember those who have lost family members through unforeseen circumstances, be it illness, death, or incarceration. 

Let us each remember them with tenderness, the same tenderness Mary showed in response to the angel Gabriel’s announcement and in her acceptance of life in all its circumstances.



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