the day before Christmas

Wherever they are, they have traveled far. Not at home, known and comfortable. Not on the road, exhausted from the journey. Arrived but unsettled. No room in the expected places, no welcome in the usual way.

Whatever they expect, they can only imagine. Preparation leads to prayer’s edge: picturing what might be, trusting what could come, unknowing until inhabited. They have seen the shift to parenthood from outside, but never for themselves. They cannot know until they arrive.

However she feels, today is the last day like this. Feeling his kicks and squirms, marveling at the stretch of her skin, carrying the heaviest weight her body will hold. Tomorrow will bring transformation for both of them.

Whatever she knows, control is not hers. Mysterious forces guide birth, and his will be the most sacred. Turns out the baby’s lungs trigger labor, the pneuma within us, the Spirit wanting to breathe.

However tomorrow looks, it will turn upside down. Scripture does not mention a stable or an innkeeper, only a manger. A feeding trough to hold the baby who will become bread for the world.

Whatever birth begins, today is an ending. The last day of two together. The last hours he is safe inside her. Tomorrow will open the world anew. Marvelous things await, but only from the end of this marvel.

Whatever today means, tomorrow is mystery. Everything will change in a few hours. On this side of the chasm swirl longing and loss, anxiety and hope. On the other side lies a warm, wet, living, breathing baby. The journey is only inches, but the space between is life or death.

He is Life, and she will bring him forth. He is Love, and she will teach him.

Tomorrow is ours. But today is theirs.

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  1. Susan Ahlbrand on 26 December 2019 at 7:39 am

    I searched to find a place to comment to you in reaction to your reflection in the Blessed Is She Generations advent devotional.

    I was moved deeply by your words. I shared it with my closest friends and with my daughters. The responses were many. One of my friends said she’d tried to read it to her family and couldn’t get through the tears.

    Your insights Into Mary are incredible. The way you took Jesus’s birth and put it in terms that those of us who have given birth can really relate to…wow.

    My devotion to Mary has steadily grown throughout this Advent, but your reflection deepened it so much.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

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