[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n 2011, Jill had her Advent, and whole life, flipped upside down. Awaiting Christmas and the birth of her first child, Jill’s excitement was shattered by an unexpected diagnosis. Jill found God in a new way through this experience and shares how surprising arrivals are often God’s M.O. From the manger to a diagnosis, God is often found in the most unexpected places. (Produced by SpiritJuice Studios)

The birth of Christ had been foreseen and prophesied for centuries, yet it was anything but expected.  Why?


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Why is it that only so few were able to read the signs, to take part in the scene, to be there at the right time and right place? Were there not scribes and experts that had dedicated their lives to such forecasts? Were the kings from afar the only ones who looked up to gaze upon the stars and read their annunciation?

The answer, I believe, can be found in 1 Jn 4: 7-8


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Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God:for God is charity.
Knowing of Christ’s coming and taking part in it are two distinct things. While many may know of his coming, few have gone out to encounter him. Sadly, many of us have heard the knock at the door yet remain asleep in our beds, tired from the days of shopping and preparation. Many of us have heard the Angel’s song yet not desired to make the trip all the way to Bethlehem. God, in his wisdom and mercy, knows us, he knows our hearts, our greatness and our weakness. Thus, He comes to us in unforeseen ways, in ways that wake us from our slumber of routinized mediocrity and invites us to take part in the dramatic coming of his Son.

It is when we take part in this dynamic of love, when we decide to give our lives in love of God and neighbor that we begin to grow in our knowledge of God. If we truly wish to grow in understanding of God, of Christ, of the gift of his Coming, we too must be willing to love.

A heart that loves,  offering itself with vulnerable generosity, –a heart like Jill’s– is a heart that learns to see God. A person with a heart such as this, in drawing to gaze upon the Nativity scene, has an inside perspective on the drama being represented. Albeit in a limited way, Jill allowed herself to become limited, to be vulnerable, to become small so that her child might have life. Hers is a heart that has loved and is thus capable of recognizing the coming of He who is Love itself.

God, during this Christmas time, asks each and every one of us to participate in his Plan of Love, each in his or her own particular way. Let us take heart from Jill’s example and have the courage to respond with generosity and faith.