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.