Christina Montoya Fiedler: Mary of Nazareth was no more than 15 years old when the angel Gabriel came to her and said she would bear the Son of God, that she would carry -- through the power of the Holy Spirit -- the Savior of the world. She was engaged to an older man, a carpenter named Joseph. Though she was scared and had no idea if her husband-to-be would believe this divine event had really occurred, she simply said, "Let it happen as God so chooses."
And then there's Joseph. Imagine finding out that your bride-to-be is pregnant before your wedding day -- before you've even had "relations" -- and she tells you a story about being the one chosen to carry the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joseph believed and supported her.
When Mary was nine months pregnant, they were forced to travel well over 70 miles (by donkey!) to the town of Bethlehem, where they were to take part in the census. While there, it came time for Mary to give birth. With all the people in town for the census, there was not an inn or house that had room for them. So they settled in a stable, the only shelter available -- even for a mother about to give birth. Jesus was born in a manger, amongst common barn animals. No doctor. No drugs. No privacy. No family but Joseph and the shepherds looking on.
While this story took place more than 2,000 years ago, it holds some amazing truths for families like mine and yours, no matter what holidays you celebrate. It's a story of incredible faith, of ultimate sacrifice and love, of believing in what you cannot see -- all things that in today's time seem so far-fetched. To endure a lifetime with a child, knowing that he would be taken from you too soon ... how many of us would do that today?
As a Catholic, I have always considered Mary to be the ultimate symbol of what a mother should be. And now that I have my own child, I recognize her strength that much more. To give both physically and emotionally without thinking comes with the territory for us mothers. And in this season, the story is a constant reminder of the sacrifices we make each day for our children.
|Christina Montoya Fiedler resides in Los Angeles, Calif., with husband Andy and son Joseph. She juggles baby and work from home as a freelance publicist and attributes her strong love for life and sense of humor to her loving familia.|