By Marjorie George
There are five of them. Five photos hanging on the bedroom wall, photos of women in high-lace collars with their hair pulled up in buns. They are sturdy women; their faces are serious. The photos are worn, all of them black and white or sepia toned with yellow age spots that testify to their authenticity.
The first photo is of my mother as a child, holding her rag doll, circa 1920. Above her on the wall is her mother, Cora. She graduated from high school in 1894; I have the watch her father gave her in celebration. Next to Cora hangs her mother, Jewell, the youngest of eight children. Above that is Jewell’s mother, Hannah, who helped her father at the family mercantile after her mother died. To the left of Hannah is her mother, Sadie. We don’t know much about Sadie.
Sometime during this Advent I will do what I have been doing for as long as the photos have hung in the middle bedroom down the hall – I will take a few moments to sit with “the ladies.” I will look at them and say, “Because you were, I am.”
These are my women; they are my story. I see the narrative continuing in the photos of my daughter and granddaughter hanging farther down on the wall. A special talent, the color of the eyes, a trait for curly hair – we share these in our story.
So, too, all creation shares the Christ-story, the story of God breaking in on humanity in the Incarnation. We celebrate the event, perhaps in different ways, every year, but the story never changes: Christ was and is and is to come.
In her wisdom the church gives us the season of Advent, a season of “sitting with” the Christ-story and figuring out our place in it. Before we accept the great gift of the Incarnation, we ponder what are the gifts we have been given to receive the story and propel it forward? What are the particulars of my God-given experiences, how has God claimed me as his child, what is my continuing story?
These are the questions I will consider during Advent when I take my cup of coffee and go sit with my history captured in these women of my lineage. When I look closely, I am sure I will see that other story – the one with God as my father and Christ as my brother, the story that stretches back to the beginning of time.
Marjorie George is Communications Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and editor of Reflections magazine and ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org This article also appeared on www.Explorefaith.com, a website dedicated to providing tools for spiritual nourishment and faith formation and spreading the joyous news of God’s love and grace.