Silent Night, Holy Night: Reflections on Mother and Child

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Advent is a season of expectation, hope, and preparation for the miracle of God’s entry into our world as a vulnerable infant. But do we pause often enough to ponder the birth itself? The nativity stories found in our sacred texts tell us little about it, though what we know is Mary was a relatively young woman, she was pregnant at an unexpected time in her life, and she delivered Jesus under less than ideal circumstances.

In my advocacy work for global maternal health in the Church, I have often talked about Mary’s pregnancy as “high risk.” The more I learn about the dangers girls and women face and the common struggle to bring new life safely into the world, I realize how much we have taken Mary’s survival for granted. Somehow in the expectation and celebration of the Christ child, we have overlooked the mother who bore him.

In my eyes the miracle of the Christmas story is two-fold: both mother and baby survived the experience of childbirth. Mary was able to care for her child, to nurture him as he grew into a young man, and to encourage him in his earthly ministry. I’ve often wondered how different the life of Jesus would have been if he’d been born an orphan and never known his mother.

Read the rest of my post over at World Vision’s Beyond 5 Campaign.

What If Jesus Had Gone to Daycare?

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As a maternal health advocate, I cherish the season of Advent as an opportunity to connect a beloved Christian story to the lives of women today who struggle to bring new life into the world under horrific circumstances. Every year I write something about Mary’s pregnancy and birth. In many ways she is no different from the “Marys” around the world who are young, poor, and unexpectedly pregnant, and who go on to give birth in unclean environments. I often pose the question to communities of faith, wasn’t the Christmas miracle equally that Mary survived the birth? How different would Jesus’s life have been if he’d never known his mother?

I continue asking these questions, but after my daughter was born last October, I have found my Advent reflections shifting to mirror my own parenting experiences. I began to think beyond Mary’s birth and into her early months of motherhood…

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Coming Soon: Online Course Offering on Advocacy

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I love teaching people about how to do advocacy, so this February I’ll be partnering with Drew Theological Seminary to offer an three-part webinar series on advocacy for clergy and congregations. Here’s the course overview:

From food pantries to global missions, faith communities are known for their acts of mercy and charity that benefit their broader communities and the world. But what does it mean for people of faith to address the root causes of injustice?

Rooted in a biblical and theological perspective, this three-session course will guide clergy and laity who are interested in advocacy through each step of building a dynamic grassroots campaign that addresses a key issue or concern in their community in their community. Each session will provide the practical steps needed to develop and execute an action plan, including building partnerships, setting goals, engaging volunteers, and working with policymakers.

Registration for the course is $20 and is open to all. Visit Drew’s website for more information and how to register. Hope to see you then!