One of Mary’s many symbols is that of the pear. In today’s offering – ‘Blessed be the Fruit of Thy Womb’ – the pear isn’t yet fully golden (there is a green tinge to the the gold which doesn’t quiet come across in the photograph) like it will be depicted in the trees were the Partridge – Christ – sits as those 12 days of Christmas begin. The waiting, the expectations, yes even the fear – for childbirth often meant death for child, mother or both – continues for a short while longer.
Mary’s brave yes has inspired and encouraged people down through the centuries. On this the last Sunday of Advent there is often a rush to move into Christmas. Many churches choose this evening to hold their Christmas Lessons and Carols service, but the time is not yet upon us, we still have a few more days to reflect with Mary. Just what are the hopes, the dreams, the challenges God has set before us; and what are the fears, the worries, the anxieties that we must face if our yes to God’s will is to be fully realised? In today’s world with all our medical knowledge and advancements the exact date of a baby’s birth can not be accurately given, neither can Christ’s return, just at Mary didn’t know the day or hour when her son would be born, we do not know they hour nor the day when our meeting with Jesus face to face will take place.
One of Advent’s great themes is that of preparation, preparation not just for Christmas for welcoming the Christ Child, but also preparation for the end of our earthly life when Christ the King will welcome us. That final welcome will surely be, in part at least, a reflection of how we have welcomed him, not just at Christmas, but each and every day, in each and every person and each and every situation.
The background for this final picture in the series is blue that some use for Advent and is often associated with Mary.