Through the Eyes of a Child...

Through the Eyes of a Child...

I asked Mary if I could hold her baby.
She nodded kindly.
Jesus baby was small, much smaller
than the babies I've held before.
Carefully I picked him up
from the crib of straw
bundled in clean linen.

Holding the Jesus baby
gives me a shiver
"Don't touch the holy child!"
Some voice in me said
and I anxiously looked up to see
if some one might run up and
slap my fingers
like a child touching things
too valuable to touch.

"But it is the Jesus baby," I say
cradling it in my arms
like any other child.

I love to hold the smallest babies
Love to breathe their freshness
to feel their warmth
And listen to their quiet breathing
re-telling the story of eternity.

Wasn't the Jesus baby a baby too?
And wasn't Mary the young mother giving birth to a -- child?

Maybe I should hold Jesus a bit longer
so Mary can take a nap.
Maybe I should make her a tea?
Maybe Joseph needs a nap, too?
Or chicken soup perhaps?

Nativity scene at St. Johns Abbey, Collegeville, MN, by Almut Furchert 2015

Why had I never before thought
to ask Mary to hold her baby?
Usually I pass nativity scenes quickly
like other Christmas kitsch:
badly staged and oddly dressed children
on crowded Christmas eves
With their parents holding up smartphones near by.

Only today
in this empty church
In the stillness of the night
I find myself drawn to the scene

A few candles shed light on the figures
made from stony material
wrapped in rustic clothing, artful but plain.
I sit down in the straw
where the baby lay.

The stone beneath the straw is cold
as I gaze into the eyes of the shepherds
kneeling down there quietly.
I bend down with them to get a glimpse of what they see.
I glance in the eyes of Joseph who embraces Mary,
And on Mary who in turn looks back to me.

At eye level of a child,
I want to touch the Jesus baby,
to feel the clothes and the straw.

Is it not too cold for Jesus baby?
Why is it laying there on straw?
Why are the shepherds kneeling?
And why is it so small?

Birthing the holy
starts with child like questions,
questions not afraid
to take the Jesus baby out of its crib
and cradle it under the heart.

Look, it is a baby
just like those I held before;
a bundle of new life
Received by wonder and awe
in the virgin womb
of each courageous women
trusting herself
to the higher powers
from whom she receives the gift.

A holy gift
we can neither make nor keep.
We can only birth it in its time.

In a silent night.

Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles schläft, einsam wacht -----

Spiritual homecoming and hospitality

Spiritual homecoming and hospitality

Expecting Deliverance

Expecting Deliverance