a muffled sob at midnight
a “Help me!” filling the dark alley with terror
a fist banging on the door
a numb, blank stare and a hand, clenching and unclenching a ball of tissue
a sudden lurch and collapse, facedown in the open field
This is how it begins, what we call Christmas.
Salvation is summoned by its negation.
The Savior is called forth by the raw expression
of the creation’s need,
that rises from the shattering
collision of what is with what should be.
Christmas begins when God hears
And God heard the voice of the boy… Gen 21:17
I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Ex 3:7
Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Luke 1:13
Christmas begins when God sees
I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt. Ex 3:7
My tears will flow without ceasing, without respite until the Lord from heaven looks down and sees. Lamentations 3: 49-50
She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!” “Yes, he saw me; then I saw him!” That’s how the desert spring got named God-Alive-Sees-Me Spring. Genesis 16: 13-14
Christmas begins when the earth turns, writhes, and lifts up its lamentation. When the protest of the human heart joins its sorrow with the heart of the One acquainted with grief,
you step out of the forest
and into the clearing
to place in our hands
wet and wild.
Here is my answer, you say.
And the name of the child is