"I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to
the temple the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts." – Malachi 3:1

Filled with hopes, I looked intently, not daring to blink as if in blinking I might miss the
magical moment. After what seemed like forever, the word slowly emerged – “Pregnant,” it
said. I was seized by a kind of joy I didn’t know was possible; A sense that God had left
heaven, became a tiny embryo and made my unworthy womb His home. My creator
allowed Himself to be completely helpless so that I may feel His tangible presence and love.
Yes, I felt very much loved. God and I were intertwined by this new life that grew in me. He
and I were one.

Today's readings invite me to revisit this joy again. In reliving this moment, it dawned on
me that baby Francis was my messenger. He came to give me a foretaste of a lasting joy, to
prepare my heart for a greater love, and to invite me to keep my focus on the One to come
as I mourn his passing.

It has been a great challenge to joyfully anticipate Christ's coming when my heart yearns
for the opportunity to meet Francis in person, to hold and to kiss him, to see him smile and
hear him cry... It gets harder as Christmas nears. You see, my Francis was supposed to be
born the week of Christmas.

As I sit with my pain, I feel Francis inviting me to let him go, to make room for greater and
everlasting love and joy. He reminds me that he is not the one whom my heart most
desires. The One whom I seek is waiting for me, but He can’t come to me, and I am unable
to fully receive Him until the day my heart desires nothing else but Him.

Baby Jesus, you are so near, but I am not ready to welcome you. Help me to let go of the things
that keep me captive. Help me ready my heart to receive you.