I had an insight which I shared with my parish yesterday… Here’s an edited version of the conclusion to my homily.
We believe that God became Man at the time when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she was pregnant; that moment signals that the new life of the child Jesus was within her. And that life was fully God and fully Man.
But even though Jesus was already among us—in the flesh—we didn’t recognize Him, we weren’t aware of Him, and we generally don’t celebrate Him until we see Him at His birth at Christmas. Isn’t that right?
When [my wife] and I were pregnant with our children we used to pray with them and talk to them and sing to them all the time while they were still in utero. I’m one of those pro-life folks that believe that when the woman becomes pregnant she is a mother, and her husband is a father—already. The only thing in question is the gender of the child and where the baby is. But otherwise: “it’s a done deal.” And when you’ve become a parent, things are different. Maybe you decide to sell the convertible; you start saving for the hospital and college and lots of spending habits are altered; some start remodeling and getting rooms and the house ready, baby-proofing; you start thinking about things that you’d never thought before. And people notice… People will notice, even before the woman starts to show! People pick up on something being different about you and your life.
I think that the time after the Ascension until the consummation of the world is for us not unlike the time between the Annunciation and the Nativity was for the Virgin Mary and Joseph.
There is the new life of Jesus Christ within us. That life of Jesus Christ is real, it is influential, and our lives are shaped and changed by His presence and we respond to Something (the love, the mercy, the forgiveness, the hope, the joy) and Some One (God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that the world doesn’t even see. All that they see is us.
Jesus says “You… be my witnesses…” When we find out we’re going to have a child we’re so proud and we want the world to know: that’s the sort of joy that we’re to have with Christ inside each of us. That’s a great way to give testimony and to witness to God’s transformation of our lives.