What About Joseph?

we sit, listen to the pastor speak of Mary and her blessed being… her womb opening like butterfly cocoon, letting the spirit of God fly into a world hungry for the miraculous…

before the pulpit, the nativity has been arranged… life-size figurines, Mary’s lit up by a bulb. white, serene light. Joseph stands off to the side, wrinkled brow, looking sad; staff in hand. it takes me a minute to see him, for his bulb has burnt out. he stands in the shadows…

and i wonder, what about Joseph? doesn’t he, humble earth-father, deserve some credit?

… my mind drifts back to over a year ago… trying for a baby… both of us being tested; husband shuddering to think perhaps it was him–so humbling for a man.

then, conceiving a first-born son, and the pride, glowing in Trenton’s eyes… knowing his DNA would live on, coursing through tiny veins of tender son. quiver in warrior’s bow.

God the Father: Joseph’s surrogate…

Joseph, knowing he hadn’t lain with Mary… knowing others knew… knowing Mary had been impregnated by another, bowed his head and loved, both wife and son, with absolute heart…

heeding the voice of the One who’d impregnated her, and marrying a woman considered shameful…

***

the service is ending; we’re kneeling in spirit, praying… and i thank God for a man so humble as to raise Another’s Son… to love a boy who looked nothing like him… that the world might be saved.

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Giving Birth to Joy

“It’s time!” he calls. My husband slips across the kitchen floor in knitted socks, grabs a snack; runs back to the living room.

It’s time for our evening show together. We sit close, feet touching, watching a sitcom, laughing, his hand on my nine-month womb. Feeling our son move with my mirth.

But my mind is far away… wondering when, and how; worrying about labour pains and latching…

…to continue reading this post, click here

(please note, this was written for Dayspring on November 6th)

manger-miracle

sometimes i gasp for the weight of it all:

motherhood.

he stares out at the world from blue fleece sweater…

i stare back, feel the enormity of all i want to be for him…

craving goodness, that i might live it, daily…

craving knowledge of Christ…that Aiden might know love.

and so, i turn to Advent, its coloured candles, its evergreen wreath, and its Sunday-lighting…

seeking truth, i turn pages, learn of these four weeks leading up to Christmas

and discover, in the three violet candles, sorrow. these weeks leading up to Christmas are meant for wallowing deep, for yearning to be better, for longing to be closer to a God who so easily befriends… these weeks are meant for sacred sadness.  mourning the loss which sin has cost…  the death of innocence… aching for celebration. heavy with bruised iniquity.

and then: the Christ candle. exaltation. delight in the coming of a heaven child. manger-miracle.

i look at Aiden, see our own miracle…

ponder this past year–a year of Advent, mourning the loss of our little Papoose, last October… at 5 weeks, he or she was a mere cluster of cells, yet to us, our baby breathed–until, no more, and we wondered: might we ever have a child?

then, February, and new conception, growing life… followed by nine months of stupor, nine months of beautiful preparation and shock: we were to be parents. not fully understanding, until the day he appeared in slippery membrane and we held him, shivering, to our souls…

this, then, is christ-mas:  the healing of the bruised. the newness of dawn. the coming of the child.

let’s celebrate.

what did Mary see?

every day, my baby nurses… and in those moments of quiet beauty i’m forced, amidst life’s noise, to stop and be, purely still.

i read, or pray for the flesh i hold, or… i study his face:

he has my mother’s eyes.

wide marble slates, pools of blue… knowing me, knowing more than i ever will, fresh from the arms of heaven…

my mother, reborn, through his sight… seeing life with full-mind, full-comprehension… she lives on through new pupils…

he has my husband’s olive skin.

stretched tight over cheeks and muscle-arms he flails bare feet and i cringe, remembering the kicks from within, yet loving his soccer-legs…

he has my jaw.

wondering: will he wait four years to speak, as i did? will words march boldly, or tremble at the edge of tongue, not quite ready to fall into wide-open world? will he write better than he speaks? will he stammer or state? journalist or lawyer? or _____?

Jesus too, nursed at Mary’s breast, eyes squeezed shut, hands conducting invisible orchestra as milk dribbled from his holy mouth…

as Mary looked down upon baby-boy, who did she see? which qualities of Christ’s were hers? did he have her chin? her eyes? her skin?

and which were the Father-God’s?

mothers of the world

“this is the colour purple,” i tell my bright eyed boy. early morning diaper changing… aiden is staring at the walls. transfixed. i try to think of other things which are purple. “grapes, royalty…” and my mind goes blank. i laugh and he gives me a gaseous smile. i pretend it’s meant for me.

he’s performing his dance of the dawn. his limbs move fast and furiously; i try to wrap the cloth diaper around his ballerina legs, but he’s stiffened into a pirouette, and suddenly, his arms fling out and his legs splay apart and now, he’s crouching down and then jumping into the air. all while lying flat. i fear one of these days he’ll dance his way off the table. another moment of nervous mother-prattle to a God who always listens.

it’s feeding time… i sit, read my Bible while he lies at my breast… us both, nursing–him with milk, me with holy word…

and then, i read to him his Bible, while he stares at the Christmas lights, white and twinkly.  i pat his back. we sit, his head beneath my chin, soft baby scalp, and his hiccups match my heartbeat… we are silent in this morning embrace. i try to sit still, to not think of laundry or dishes or unwritten books… to let this moment mean something. because all too soon he’ll be all legs–running circles–resisting my hold.

he begins to yawn; bright eyes dull, and he whimpers… it’s nap-time. so easily finished with the world’s colours and sounds… so honestly done.

as he sleeps, i stare down at my baby and see everything i could be: all of the badness, and all of the goodness, and beg God to rid the sin for my little one’s sake…

mothers of the world, i applaud you. i didn’t know until now, how the future of the earth rests on your shoulders…

father knows best

i just had to wake him.

at 1.5 weeks, Aiden Grey slept through the night…

(not an every-day occurrence. uncommon blessing.)

five hours into the star-speckled folds i woke in a panic, grasping the air for my baby, finding nothing…. breath snagging in throat. sitting up, hearing no cries, fearing the worst…

i stumbled into his room, saw him lying there in bassinet, baby-cheek pressed into cloth, tiny sweet-milk breaths kissing the air…

and i woke him, believing he needed to be fed.

he didn’t. he needed sleep. i tried to force him to latch. he cried. i cried. believing i knew what was best.

finally, hubby pattered into room. rescued wife and son… sent both to bed.

i fell, tear-spent, on pillow, sending heart to heaven. learning: God will wake him when it’s time to feed… i need merely to rest. letting go, fragile flesh of my flesh.