Last year I compiled a meditation of poetry, art, and music to help an individual enter into this “irrational season,” my favorite of all: Advent. You can find that here.
This year, being great with child myself, I find this Advent season to be incredibly powerful. Just as Mary awaited her first child (The Child), I await my little one, pondering in my heart the days that God has formed for her. Pregnancy has been hard for me; I have felt anxiety and depression, fear and impatience. This is my own personal Advent…a waiting in what can sometimes feel like a great darkness, a striving for peace promised, strength given, hope bestowed, a reaching out with worn arms for a newborn baby: a light, a joy, God with me.
Shepherds, donkeys, comets, kings
This year I ponder private things:
How Mary, innocent and poor,
Felt carrying a baby prince
Inside, until she bore
Him whimpering. I wonder, since
This Christmas I am filled
With my firstborn to carry…
And when the wind is stilled
At night I think of Mary.
Margaret D. Smith
After the bright beam of hot annunciation
fused heaven with dark earth
his searing sharply focused light
went out for a while
eclipsed in amniotic gloom:
his cool immensity of splendor
his universal grace
small-folded in a warm dim
the Word stern-sentenced
to be nine months dumb–
infinity walled in a womb
until the next enormity–the Mighty, after submission
to a woman’s pains
helpless on a barn-bare floor
first-tasting bitter death
Now, I in him surrender
to the crush and cry of birth.
was closeted in time
he is my open door
From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
Out of his dark I glow.
My life, as his,
slips through death’s mesh,
joins hands with heaven,
speaks with stars.
It wasn’t that long ago
that he’d spoken these stars
and this woman’s life
was just a thought in his mind.
He’d smiled down on her birth
and entered her name in his pages
perhaps with an asterisk
denoting plans too sacred to be spoken
but pondered in his heart.
in wide-eyed wonder
he gazes up at his creation.
His hand that hurled the world
holds tight his mother’s finger.
spills across her face
and she weeps
silent wondering tears
to know she holds the One
who has so long held her.
Joan Rae Mills
Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo! faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.
“So the word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory, like the glory of a newborn child, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. He has shown us the light that enlightens every person coming into the world.“
-from John 1 paraphrased by J. Phillip Newell in his book Celtic Treasure: Daily Scriptures and Prayer
Away in a Manger
“The little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.”
True God made babe bewails the warm womb lost;
hungry screams and gropes for mother-milk.
True God made child wants will his own;
in tears surrenders to another.
True God made man weeps bitterly for friend death stole,
sobs silently at Simon’s loud rejection.
True God made Christ in blood-sweat groans
that cup be taken from him.
On cruel cross with throat dry cries
asks why Good God has Son forsaken.
Barbara K. Olson
This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d been no room for the child.
We await the birth of our Savior, the Christ Child, with hope, joy, peace, love. I await the birth of my child, miracle of God’s creation, with reverence and awe.
xoxo chloe ella