“No man reaches where the moon touches a woman.
Even the moon leaves her when she opens
Deeper into the ripple in her womb
That encircles dark, to become flesh and bone.
Someone is coming ashore inside her,
A face deciphers itself from water,
And she curves around the gathering wave,
Opening to offer the life it craves.
In a corner stall of pilgrim strangers,
She falls and heaves, holding a tide of tears.
A red wire of pain feeds through every vein,
Until night unweaves and the child reaches dawn.
Outside each other now, she sees him first,
Flesh of her flesh, her dreamt son safe on earth.”
The Nativity by John O’Donahue
Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent, a time which in my tradition is a season of waiting, expectancy, and anticipation. In our church, on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we will light a candle to symbolize one of the themes specific to Advent:
Every year before the first Sunday in Advent a nativity display appears in front of the Glenwood General Store in our little rural town. This year, however, the display moved a few feet west of the store, landing the holy family in front of the Burger Shed. A gas station in days gone by, which one can imagine in ancient times might have been about the size of a small stable in which to take shelter. But not all the holy family is visible. The mother and father, on either side of a small empty manger, await the arrival of a new life on the way. These are their days of waiting, expectancy, and anticipation, as they are ours.
Come Christmas morning, anyone driving by the Burger Shed will find the babe in the manger, a symbol of hope, peace, joy, and love. No matter our beliefs, religious or not, each of those is a fundamental longing of the human heart, And as the days grow shorter, and the darkness arrives earlier, it seems a season primed for us to eagerly wait for hope, peace, joy, and love to rise up. But let’s not just to wait for them, let’s watch for them.
Let’s claim them wherever we find them.
Let’s proclaim them whenever we see them.
Let’s call them forth.
Let’s carry them forward.
Let’s offer them up.
Let’s embody them.
Let’s embrace them.
Let’s give birth to them.