wrapping up Christmas

Interwoven through the stories of our faith tradition,
we trace the long line of those who were barren—
beginning with Sarai, Rebekah, and Rachel
(the barren triumvirate, oddly enough,
who would come to be known as the matriarchs!),
remembering the Shunammite woman Elisha encountered,
Hannah weeping and praying in front of the Temple,
all resonating in the story of Elizabeth—
each of whom desperately wanted and prayed for a child
and was, eventually, granted a miracle—

into that long line then,
of those who wondered why they couldn’t conceive
came one who wondered why she did—
within the questions women had for God because of what was not,
came the questions one woman had for God because of what was—
into experience characterized by long-suffering emptiness
came unexpected fullness—
into the stories of those who were called into question,
and perhaps ridiculed,
due to their barrenness
came one who was called into question,
and perhaps ridiculed,
due to her pregnancy—
within the repeated litany of longing and wanting
is introduced one who wasn’t longing or waiting—
as what had been celebrated as the end of earlier stories
became the beginning
in a new story of one pregnant not as miracle but with miracle—
who conceived before it was conceivable—
and has remained forevermore
pregnant with the possibility of abundant life.

Though it’s really not so much a new story,
as a shift from a God who responds to emptiness and chaos
to a God who initiates fullness

which, in turn, may represent less a shift
as a return—
to the God who created fullness—
not in response to emptiness and chaos,
but in initiating expression of fullness of self.



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