In the last few days before Christmas, Deacon David Palmer Catholic Chaplain, reflects on motherhood.
We are nearly there! As my mother would say "Christmas is just round the corner." I'm Deacon David and it's my privilege to share a thought with you today.
Every year, I go on Pilgrimage to Lourdes. One year I was pushing Frank, a stroke victim in his wheelchair and it was raining. We had not brought a waterproof cover and Frank was getting soaked. I tried to make a joke of it and said "God's got a sense of humour." Quick as a flash, Frank turned to me and said "Yes, He got it from His Mother." It is a profoundly theological comment. Christians believe that God Almighty came as one of us - as a baby in Bethlehem. Later as a grown up, he would have laughed and cried. We know he cried. The shortest verse in the Bible is "Jesus wept." We can be sure he laughed too, enjoying good times with his friends. His parables show a real sense of humour. He had a human mother.
We owe a lot to our mothers. At this time of year my mother would always point to the lighting up times shown in the daily paper and say "The days are getting longer!" That sense of optimism in dark times has stayed with me.
Life was not easy for Mary the mother of Jesus at Bethlehem. She agreed to be the Mother of God but probably did not expect a 100 mile journey in the last days of pregnancy and childbirth in a stable. Jesus did not have the best start in life; not helped much by strange men turning up with inappropriate presents. Nappies, a casserole and a bottle of wine might have been more appreciated! Jesus had the added problem of the local King trying to kill him, forcing Mum and Dad to take him into exile. But He turned out ok in the end.
We all have mothers, and even if like me, your mother has died and gone to a better place; we can still remember the good times. Motherhood is not easy and mothers are not perfect, but one thing is certain: our mothers cared enough about us to carry us in their womb for nine months or so. We would not be here otherwise.
This Christmas, take time to thank your mother, in person or in prayer; and thank God that she, like Mary, fulfilled God's promise to her that she would have a baby. You can see that promise fulfilled - just look in the mirror.
May the peace and grace of God be with you and those you love, this Christmas and throughout the year ahead.