Part Two of Four Parts
How long can you carry the secret,
the gift of saving love,
before giving birth to it?
How long can you ponder things in your heart
and sit on the stone path in the sun?
After a while it becomes obvious
that there is something up your sleeve,
or under your tunic.
Someone’s delight is in you
and is growing bigger every day.
Some of us are called to bear children. All of us, male and female, are called to give birth to Christ. We carry God’s seed, a divine promise in us and for us. Each is called to conceive some aspect of the great promise of salvation. We are given the choice to surrender to it, to carry and nourish it, and give it birth on its terms in its time.
With such a call, we are at the service of powers greater than we are. We find ourselves as servants and handmaids, those who stand alert and ready at the door for the one they serve, who may come at any time. We belong to the promise and are given over to the promise. The child of the promise is the unique offering you, and only you, can give out of your love in the Bethlehem of your life.
What is it? Who is it? How is this done? We are each alone here. There were no witnesses when Gabriel came. One or two may understand, who are strong when we are weak, who have hope when we have despair, who have faith when we have none. For the most part we must face the rejection, fears, doubts, and devils alone. And then, suddenly in the dark comes the sharp all-encompassing pain of labor – so much more painful than we had ever imagined it could be.
It may not look like all that much, your child and your offering of yourself as a mother of redemption. It may seem a small thing compared to Mary’s child. The child you bear may be nothing more (or less) than the courage to get through a bad day, or a shred of hope you cling to like a broken raft in the midst of a churning sea.
Two signs may help you tell if this is your Christ child: first, a vision of the joy or beauty or love set free in the gift you offer; and second, your sacrificial suffering in the labor and delivery of that gift. Such suffering is not a consequence of abuse or injustice. This is the suffering of love, which is assailed by evil as it seeks to remain firm in its faith in the efficacy and power of God’ s suffering love on the cross.
how did she keep the promise alive,
the word which was spoken to her,
through all the days and nights
while she walked the rocky paths?
What good could come out of Nazareth?
How can this be?
I have no husband.
I have no money.
I have no strength.
I have no hope.
I have no skill . . .
But he said, Nothing is impossible with God.
A secret between her and the angel,
a child growing in a hostile environment
and stillness at dusk
when the light slides under the horizon
leaving a golden smear of hushed anticipation.
She was like a tiny flame
in a sea of darkness