The Christmas verses of my Mater et Misericordiae poem…
All joy and expectation, wonder and awe…
Who is this, wriggling in my arms,
this little bundle of life and flesh,
woven from my bone, and blood,
and heart, and life…
that makes me stop still in wonder.
My heart grabs on and holds tight
to the moment, not the understanding of it,
rehearsing the scenes as they are added
to the angel’s first proclaiming, “The Son of God.”
Here are shepherds, coming
Sharing David’s work
The first to greet David’s Son,
And Israel’s King.
And my heart leaps with joy and awe
at the message of angels’ songs,
confirming for these shepherds
the good news of David’s Son
first told to me nine months ago.
And here I am, holding
“He who will be given the throne of His Father, David,”
and the one “Whose kingdom will have no end,”
here, amidst the straw and stone and dirt of a stable
in David’s city.
And here I am, laying
New mana sent down from heaven to satisfy
the hunger of His peoples’ hearts,
here, in this feeding trough of beasts
In this town, called “house of bread.”
And my mind and heart wrap around all of this mystery,
holding it close, safely tucked away
with the words of the angel’s greeting, “Hail, full of grace,”
to be added to and built upon by future angels’ songs.
What foreign thing is this, these gentile priests and astronomers,
kneeling here in homage, before Israel’s King
leaving me speechless.
And was it the same starlight that stood as a sign to Abraham
of the fulfillment of the promise
that brought them here, tonight:
to witness the final fulfillment of that same Covenant?
And wonder and joy overcome me, as my heart ponders again
Who is this, who, in infancy
Receives the homage Solomon gained
At the height of his power?
Receiving lavishly at his cradle
gifts our greatest king saw at his throne:
Gold, for his royal heritage, the Son of David, and Solomon…
Frankincense, reflecting his destiny as priest,
in the line of Melchizedek.
as first-born and Son of David.
But one brings offering of mournful myrrh,
the sacrifice of suffering,
the anointing of death
that seems it would be out of place
in this place of birth.
And my heart wonders, and expands once again,
to accommodate this new piece of mystery,
added to the shepherd’s awe,
to be built upon by future offerings.
All joy and anticipation, the first time we bring him home,
to the center of our hearts,
our identity, and his destiny—
the house of the Most High,
the temple of the tabernacle of His glory.
And I feel like Hannah, bringing my own,
To be consecrated to the Father.
Not to be redeemed from his service
For Who could redeem this First born, Come himself to redeem
And be the new High Priest?
And my heart is as full, I’m sure, as was this first one
“graced” to be mother to God’s chosen one.
We bring him in humble obedience to the law,
He Who is the Law’s beginning, and it’s end
But who is this, that comes
With eyes full of the light of knowing
Reaching out arms weary with waiting
To hold the Savior of the world?
And he blesses You for the miracle
of Israel’s light,
That he has somehow been enlightened to recognize
Held in his arms.
And my heart cries in wonder with him
At the renewed proclamation of peace for all peoples
And hope for those far off.
And yet before this peace, a shadow will come, he says
Contradiction, rejection, pain…
And I catch a glimpse of a wider plan
Than I had first imagined
And my role is bigger than the initial
Giving flesh to God.
Somehow, for me, heart –piercing
must precede life-giving,
and pain and anguish are means of opening
to wider motherhood…
for the salvation of Israel.
And I catch Your hand, O Lord,
A little tighter
As I add this layer of Your mystery
that is being woven through my life
to the songs of angels and gifts of kings.