• MMH Press

Grace in the Middle of the Night

This post is not going to be your standard parenting advice article. I don’t have 5 good tips, a mind blowing breakthrough, or a magic solution for you today.


Instead, I want to share something a little different. Something special.


What you’ll read below is a meditation. It’s an imaginative journey through the scene of the Incarnation, paralleled with a modern parenting moment that you may find very familiar.


As you read this meditation, I encourage you to envision the scene in your mind.


Enter into Mary’s experience, let it draw you closer to the Lord your God, and help you discover anew the light of Christ shining through you in your vocation as parents.


Dear parents, stay close to God. Stay close to the Blessed Mother. See the light of Christ in your children and in your vocation.

It's a dark and peaceful night. God looks down from heaven and sees the quiet, shadowy town of Nazareth. Only the warm yellow glow of a few candles can still be seen burning in the windows of the homes here.

Most have already gone to sleep.


God hears His name whispered. He recognizes the voice of his beloved daughter, Mary. He draws near. He sees her kneeling at the side of her bed, praying. Tonight is a special night for her, but she doesn't know it yet. Mary blows out her candle and slips into bed.


It's time.


God sends His angel to her bedside. She feels the presence in the room and jumps up in bed in fear. The angel speaks to her: “Do not fear.”


God listens to the conversation.

“You will have a son …”

“How can this be?”

“By the power of God …”

And finally ... “Fiat.”


At that moment, God shouts with joy. He sends forth His Spirit to overshadow her. A tiny light begins to flicker inside of Mary, a light that only God can see. It's small, but brighter than any candle. Brighter than any fire. Brighter than the sun.


The light fills Mary so she can hardly contain it. She rushes from her room and wakes up her parents, sleeping in the next room over. Together, they cry tears of joy and sing hymns of praise to God long into the night.


The light within her dances and sways to the exultant music.


Many hours later, Mary collapses back into her bed exhausted, but full of joy.


As she sleeps, the light within her continues to shine bright. When she awakens in the morning, she will bring that light to her little world. To her betrothed, Joseph. To her cousin, Elizabeth. To the marketplace, to the well, to the riverbank on laundry day.


Everywhere she goes, the light goes, too. Everyone she meets feels the presence of the light. God watches her move through the world.


And as He watches her, He smiles.


More than 2000 years later, on another dark and peaceful night, God looks down from heaven and sees your quiet, shadowy town. Only a few windows still glow with a blue flickering light.


Most have already gone to sleep.


God hears you whisper His name, "Our Father, who art in heaven …" He draws near to you.


He sees you yawn as you fight the tiredness in order to scrub the last few dishes in the sink. To match just a few more pairs of socks. To scoop stray toys off the staircase on your way to your room.


He hears you whisper, "Hail Mary ..." as you brush your teeth, shimmy out of your clothes, shrug on your pajamas. He hears you murmur, "Glory be ..." as you drop into bed. The house becomes still.


It's time.


A toddler climbs out of bed. He crawls his way to your room, an angel following closely in his footsteps.


You feel a presence and awaken, startled. The angel speaks into your heart: Do not be afraid.


God listens to the conversation.

“What’s up, honey?”

“I'm scared ... Can I sleep in your bed?”

And finally ... “Fiat.”


At that moment, God shouts with joy. As you pull your child into bed, God pours down His graces upon you. That tiny light within you, the light that was lit at your baptism, grows a bit brighter.


The light gives you strength to sing lullaby after lullaby to the precious child by your side, as you hold him close and stroke his soft hair. Finally, you drift off back to sleep, exhausted but full of joy.


As you sleep, the light within you continues to shine bright. When you awaken in the morning, you will bring that light to your little world. To your husband. To your teenage daughter. To your mother-in-law. To the playground, to the gym, to the grocery store on errand day.


Everywhere you go, the light goes, too. Everyone you meet can feel the presence of the light. God watches you as you move through the world.

And as He watches you, He smiles.


Dear parents, stay close to God. Stay close to the Blessed Mother. See the light of Christ in your children and in your vocation.


Pray that it may be so.


I’m praying for you, too.


Sincerely,

Sara


Sara Estabrooks is a Catholic wife and mom. Visit her blog, To Jesus Sincerely, to join Sara in pursuing the universal call to holiness. There you will find her thoughts, meditations, Catholic Trivia games, published books, and more. You can also subscribe to her podcast, Home But Not Alone, to listen to real conversations about her Catholic Parenting journey.

Me & My House Catholic Parenting is an                    resource.

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