Preparing for Emmanuel is different this year at the Swaim house.  I’d like to say that we have been unwrapping a book for every day of preparation, or creating our own Jesse tree ornaments, or even faithfully lighting the Advent wreath each night.

But the truth is that in the first week of Advent the candle has been lit a grand total of one time.  And I don’t see any successful Pinterest projects in our future.  Our life with a newborn is too messy right now.

But in spit of the lack of outward preparation, I am still hopeful that this can be one of the most spiritually fruitful Advents, because it is my first Advent as a mom.

And being a mom has changed everything.

The reality of waiting and preparing a place have never been so real to me as they were this year through the nine months of pregnancy, longing to hold my child in my arms, and anticipating our new life as a family.

And the incredible, MIND-BLOWING reality of the Incarnation has never been more real to me than it is now that she’s here.  I find myself walking with Mary and the Baby Jesus throughout each day, wondering and marveling about their life and relationship, the intimacy they shared as mother and Son.

When I am sitting in the early morning hours nursing Lucy, I can just see Mary doing the very same thing with the Baby Jesus – counting His fingers and toes, running her finger along His cheek, marveling at His tiny lips and long eye lashes.

I wonder, did she have any trouble nursing?  Did she miss the feeling of Him moving and kicking insider her?

As I change diapers and try to calm her when she fusses I think of Mary and how she might have soothed a crying Jesus.  What songs did she sing to Him?

And as I struggle to keep all the “things” together I wonder what it must have been like for both of them to be so vulnerable and far away from home?

As a new mom, the mysteries of Christmas – the reality of God-Made-Man – are all wound up in the gritty details of life with a new baby, and I marvel at the humble, perfect love of God.  What wondrous love, indeed, for my Creator and Redeemer to come to me as helpless as this baby that sucks at my own breast.

And I find myself so grateful for Mary’s perfect motherhood.  He deserved a mom who was perfect, one who didn’t have to shove sin and selfishness out of the way to make room for Him.

So my prayer during this messy, un-Pinteresty, post-partum Advent is that I can make room for the Child Jesus through my own child, and through my motherhood – imperfect though it may be – enthrone Him.

How has motherhood changed how you celebrate Advent?

Copyright 2013 Megan Swaim