Don't Be Afraid

 'The Annunciation' by Henry Ossawa Tanner

We Christians have entered that most sacred time of Advent, a time of preparation in anticipation and celebration of the birth of Christ.

I think of the young mother Mary awaiting the birth of her child, quietly pondering what it would mean.

"Don't be afraid," the angel had said. (Angels always say that.) Was Mary afraid?

I remember being pregnant with my daughter, Haley. I was terrified. What if something went wrong? What if I wasn't capable of carrying her full-term? I had already had one miscarriage and didn't think I could bear it if that happened again. What affect was the emotional turmoil of being separated from my husband having on my unborn child? 

But then I had this dream:

I'm at the beach, holding a baby in a basket, and a tidal wave is coming towards us. There is nothing I can do to escape it so I hold tightly to the basket as the giant wave engulfs us.  When the wave recedes, I'm still holding the baby safely in the basket.

It felt like the voice of an angel saying to me, "Don't be afraid. All will be well."

And from that point on, I stopped being fearful. 

The day Haley was born was truly a miracle. I couldn't take my eyes off her!

I have the sense that Mary felt something similar when Jesus was born. I imagine that all that mattered to her was that he had arrived safely, miraculously whole and precious. How could she know in that moment who her child was to become?

What had been hidden from view became visible. "God with us." Emmanuel.

"Advent: a coming into place, view, or being; arrival."