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Comfort and Joy: Learning to Comfort a Child


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Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, FMS friend and donor Anusia Dickow shares her experiences of babysitting and how they led to a deeper realization. 

I was babysitting my baby cousin a few weeks ago. She was only six months old, and this was the first time mom and dad were going out since she had been born. The moment they left, as most children do, she cried.

And then she continued to cry.

We walked around and she would calm down as she saw the faces of her brothers and familiarity of her home. But then she would look up and see me, a stranger holding her, and again begin to cry.

She eventually fell asleep in my arms and remained there until mom and dad came home. Finally, there was some peace for both of us.

But when mom and dad returned and the door opened, she woke up, saw me, and started crying again, not recognizing who I was.

Then she saw mom. And as she was once again placed in her mother’s arms, all tears stopped and a joyful smile lit up her face.

The comfort and joy that I tried so hard to share with her was something I was unable to give.

I imagine the baby Jesus, an infant being passed around and held by strangers. Jesus crying and fussing as babies do, but family and friends just wanting to hold the small child and shower him with love.

And then I think of the moments when Jesus is placed back in Mary’s arms. Mother comforting her child in a way that only she can. All tears stopping as mother again embraces child.

When I babysat my baby cousin the next time, there were tears, but this time less so. She still missed her mother and fussed, but seemed a bit more at ease with me.

And I imagine Mary helping Jesus learn and meet the people around him. Helping him become more comfortable with strangers.

But each time, there is a certain sweet comfort and joy from being reunited with mom.

This Christmas season, I ask Mary to continue sharing her Son with me, to let me hold Christ in my heart, so that he may become as familiar with me as with her.

Because just as I want to grow closer with my cousin, build a relationship with her, a relationship of comfort and joy, I want to grow closer to Christ. To build a relationship with Jesus that can grow into a joyful comfort for us and for all in whom he dwells.

Question for reflection: How can you ask Mary to draw you closer to her Son this Christmas season? 


Anusia Dickow wanders around this world looking for God, most immediately in Washington, D.C. where she lives and works. She graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in Theological Studies, focusing particularly on Ignatian Spirituality. She also blogs at Millennial Journal.

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Franciscan Mission Service often invites guest writers to contribute to the blog. Contributors often include board members, formation leaders, Secular Franciscans, Franciscan friars and sisters, and other friends of the organization. If you would be interested in contributing, please contact info@franciscanmissionservice.org.