Waiting, preparing, anxiously getting ready. The church’s attention this time of year turns to the pending arrival of an infant. Advent is a time of excited expectation as the church waits to celebrate the birth of its Savior who came in the form of a baby.

It just so happens, several of our features in this issue of Catholic Herald Family revolve around the arrival of babies, illustrating the joy and love they bring to families. Perhaps their stories will help readers feel a similar joy as we welcome the Infant Jesus into our homes and lives this Christmas season.

For the Loehr family, on Page 4, waiting for Gianna became even more suspenseful, after mom, Gina, experienced health problems early in the pregnancy. Read how prayer and faith in God helped them cope, not only with the high risk pregnancy and the birth of the baby, but with her visual impairment which some might see as a disability, but which the Loehr family views as a gift from God!

On one hand, the wait to become parents was years for Juan and Michele (who asked that we not use their last name), but on the other hand, the couple had only a day’s notice before meeting and taking baby Arianah home with them.

After years of disappointing infertility issues, the couple turned to adoption. Imagine their surprise when they received a phone call from a social worker, telling them that not only had they been chosen by the birthmother to be the adoptive parents of a baby, but that baby had arrived the day earlier!

Yet, Juan and Michele didn’t hesitate. They spent the next day scrambling around to prepare their home for a baby. In early July, they welcomed Arianah.

Theirs is a tale of love sure to touch your heart this holiday season.

It was a baby times two who changed the lives of the Reyes family last December. Henry Reyes and his wife, Dr. Patricia Cabral, already had three young children when they learned they were expecting twins! As Henry explained, the couple was not looking to have more children, “three is a lot for two parents who work full time,” but God had different plans, he said.

With the arrival of the twins, the couple decided one of the parents should remain home with the family, and Henry was in a better position to do so. In addition to working on his doctorate in ministry from Mundelein Seminary/University of St. Mary of the Lake, Henry, who has since entered the deacon formation program for the archdiocese, has taken on the role of stay-at-home dad and homeschooling father to his children.

He’s also Catholic Herald Family’s new “Faith and Family” columnist. In this capacity, each issue, Henry will answer questions on faith and family issues, offering advice on how to live out the Catholic so that you might pass it on to your children.

Meet Henry and read his first column on Advent.

Also this issue, don’t miss Jeff Wenzler’s thoughts on Page 12 on the importance of nurturing your relationship with your spouse. Children need to see healthy, loving relationships modeled by their parents, he writes, advising parents to nurture their marriage. It’s practical advice that likely takes a backseat to the hustle and bustle of family life.

Finally, warm wishes from the staff of Catholic Herald Family from our home to yours:

A Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!