The Virtual Advent Tour is about sharing traditions and other things important to us this time of year. I have a tradition that exists inside my head at Christmas. I think about pregnant Mary and how she felt traveling, bumping on top of a donkey, on a dirt road, for miles and miles until they reached Bethlehem.
I haven’t always thought about pregnant Mary but, from the first time I was pregnant over Christmas, I felt an affinity with Mary. My three children and my three grandchildren are all born in the months of January through April, so my thoughts have become a habit, a tradition.
I’ll remind myself of those experiences – the kicks to my ribs and how my tailbone ached no matter where I sat. Thank God my options usually were cushioned chairs and not a bony animal who kept moving. When it comes to thinking about the birthing process, Mary and I and all mothers share that bond of pain.
But as almost all moms will tell you, that birthing pain is soon forgotten when your special baby is placed in your arms. That soft, smooth skin and special baby smell will start clouding the pain memory.
And then as the first few months pass and the little person develops his/her own personality, he or she gives us a special gift. I’m talking about a baby’s smile. When that happens varies with each baby, but its usually somewhere around the third or fourth month. As the saying goes, that smile is priceless.
This is our grandson who will be eight-months-old on Christmas. This smile of his is a gift to everyone he meets because its personal. He looks at each person, makes eye contact, and then his whole face lights up with his smile.
Fortunately for the recipient of a baby’s smile, that smile is given with no judgement. He/she believes in the goodness of every individual. Its simple and beautiful. There’s a lesson in that gift, isn’t there?
My wish for each of you is that you will be the recipient of a special smile. I hope its a baby’s smile but, if that’s not possible, then I hope you receive a smile that says you are valued and loved. Also, give away some smiles of your own.
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In 2010 I wrote my Advent Tour post about a bell that is given to each baby in our family on their first Christmas. We’re ready with the silver bell for our smiling baby you see pictured above. It becomes the first ornament in his own ornament collection. (You can read about that tradition here.)