Opening Prayer. God, might I know your love and trust you as you invite me deeper into loving this world and all of your creation. May it be onto me as you have said and might your kingdom come in all things. AMEN.
Scripture. Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV).
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Mary. A Doula’s Midrash, Part Two. from Kelsey Kreider Starrs.
Have you ever seen such splendor?
Have you ever felt such wonder?
Time stands still as we lay together, staring into one another’s eyes. His hazy gaze never leaves my face from his resting place at the crook of my arm. We search one another’s surfaces, learning every contour, knowing and yet not knowing our innermost parts.
Every now and then he suckles at my breast for his first milk of life, and my open womb contracts as the midwife said it would. Joseph does his best to follow my instructions, gently wrapping the afterbirth for burial, massaging my fundus to help it close, stripping my underskirts into swaddling clothes, and preparing the manger for when I am ready to set him down. I am not yet ready.
Can it really be that this tiny baby, my son who was knit together in my secret place, will make the whole world new?
Is it really true that this helpless child laying in my arms will
set captives free
humble powers and principalities
bring kings to their knees?
Is it really true that this vulnerable body will
dry every tear
wash away all shame
call the soul to its worth?
Is it really true that he will indeed be Good News for
the least…like me?
His starlike hands open and close around my finger. I kiss his soft nose and inhale his earthy smell. He is getting sleepy, and I start to feel the exhaustion of my travail seep in.
“Are you ready now?” Joseph asks.
I shake my head no and pull him closer. I want just one more minute here in this perfect reverie. Soon enough word will get out that on this day, a Savior is born, and they will come. Soon enough he will grow up and leave my arms and become the Son of Humanity. For unto ushe is born, not unto me. Soon enough he will be Christ and Christ crucified.
I want one last moment when there is no Rome and there is no Herod and there is no prophecy of a lamb led to slaughter.
I want one more moment when he is simply Yeshuah and I am simply Maryam and we are simply mother and son cocooned in a world all our own.
I bid my arms to lay him down on the hay-lined feeding trough. He lands peacefully, and I lean over to whisper a mother’s prayer into his glistening hair…
I release you now so that it may be as they say.
Questions for Consideration
Closing Prayer. God, by your Spirit, breathe in me that I might be open to release the places where I have sought safety and protection in order that I might instead turn towards your invitations to serve all whom you love. For Christ’s sake and in his love, AMEN.