Posted by: Bro Jer | December 6, 2010

Catholic New Media Advent Calendar with Maria Johnson

Maria Johnson refers to herself as a podsquatter because she is a frequent guest on other’s podcasts but does not have one of her own.  The reality is that Maria has been very active for many years behind the scenes with the Rosary Army and SQPN apostolates. She was a writer for That Catholic Show and is one of the co-hosts for the Secrets of Harry Potter and Catholic Weekend.

We have known each other online for many years.  When we walked into the Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston this summer, a lovely lady with a big smile greeted my wife and I warmly.  I did not recognize Maria until she partially obscured her face with a coffee mug to resemble her twitter profile picture.

You can find Maria over at her blog, Another Cup of Coffee.  Here is her 2009 Advent Calendar reflection on patience and waiting during Advent. Without further introduction, here is Maria reflecting on one of her own experiences with the Nativity.

One of my favorite memories from Advent is from twenty years ago. It was early fall, and our second child, Christy, was just a few months old. Our parish announced that they were recruiting families for a Christmas pageant to be held in early December, so I dutifully gathered the flyer and went on with my life. It was to be a full re-creation of what Bethlehem might have looked like 2000 years ago (or maybe, what the set-builders and actors thought it would look like).

As the date for the pageant approached, the pleas for a couple with an infant became a bit more pressing, and finally, my husband and I attended one of the meetings. I had very long black hair at the time, and my husband had a full beard. When the spunky little nun who was running the show saw us she declared that we were the Holy Family and wouldn’t even need any make-up. We laughed, were fitted for our costumes, and took the only direction we’d need for the evening: Joseph, you’re going to escort your wife to the city gates, sign the census, and find a place to stay.

That was it.

As it happens, it was one of the coldest nights on record in South Florida. I handed off Christy to her godmother, andJohn Joseph and I began the rather uncomfortable trial of finding a place to stay. The market was bustling with people, there were animals everywhere, vendors selling their wares, Roman soldiers and beggars at odds with each other. And everywhere we went, we were turned away. At one point, we tried to get something warm to drink, and we were scorned.

I can tell you we were getting a little desperate to find our kid and return to the welcoming warmth of our own home, but as they say, the show must go on. Finally, one of the innkeepers took pity on us and led us to a stable (conveniently located on a stage in a field behind the market), and the Angel of the Lord appeared, in resplendent glory, hanging from a cherry picker high above the crowd and read the story of the Nativity.

Was it kitschy? You bet. But it was also amazingly well done, and for a moment, I had walked in Mary’s footsteps, and felt closer to her than I had ever before. We were both young mothers, trying to take care of our babies, focused on their warmth and safety at the moment while trusting that our husbands would take care of us and find what we needed.

That common humanity that we shared with the Holy Family that night changed me in small ways. It opened my heart, interestingly enough, to Mary, and to the immensity of her submission to God. Her “yes”  and, we often forget, Joseph’s “yes” , together set the stage, with each playing their parts, for my our salvation.

That pageant changed the way I looked at Christmas. It was no longer an end, but a beginning. Those days leading up to Christmas day became, at first, a period of reflection as I thought about the difficulty of Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. I lived in a constant state of discomfort in that last trimester — how much more did she go through? It became, for me, a deeply personal journey of discovery about my own faith — taken in baby steps, led along the path by Mary and other faithful people who have come in and out of my life  and shared their own journeys.

I can’t say that I understood it all that night. I had a moment of insight, but perhaps that’s all I needed to get me going. After all, the Holy Spirit just needs a chance, right?

But something changed for me that night — perhaps the way I understood Advent. We understand it to be a time of reflection, waiting, and especially reconciliation, but it is much more.

During this season we wait and prepare for the coming of our Lord as a child, but it was my realization that night many years ago as I held my own child up for the world to see, that it was only the beginning. That the mystery of the Incarnation was a necessary step in a grander scheme, and that what we are preparing for is not under a tree in a creche or a brightly decorated box, but in Jesus Christ — that we may know the depth of God’s love.

“In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him” (1 Jn 4:9).

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (CCC 524).

And so we wait, and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also, the anticipation of His return.

Join us tomorrow for more reflections produced by great Catholic New Media personalities as we journey through the advent.

  1. Send me your feedback on the blog at catholicroundup.com by email at catholicroundup.com pan>catholicroundup@gmail.com or by calling 206-666-7374 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              206-666-7374      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
    .

  2. Go to the Catholic New Media Advent Calendar

Subscribe to CNMR (RSS).

Subscribe on the Itunes Music Store

 

Join us tomorrow for more reflections produced by great Catholic New Media personalities as we journey through the advent.

  1. Send me your feedback on the blog at catholicroundup.com by email at catholicroundup.com pan>catholicroundup@gmail.com or by calling 206-666-7374 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              206-666-7374      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
    .

  2. Go to the Catholic New Media Advent Calendar

Subscribe to CNMR (RSS).

Subscribe on the Itunes Music Store

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Responses

  1. under possibly related posts is this: How do you solve a problem like Maria?

    Really? REALLY?! Because I haven’t heard that one before 🙂

    Thanks for the love, Jerry!


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