Day 11 Deb’s Advent Calendar
It’s eleven degrees outside and still dark. We’re drinking coffee and Fannie is chewing on her new pig toy. Mary is watching.
“Did you really write that? A wee Babe’s face’?” Todd asks after I read him my poem.
“I did. You don’t like it?”
“We don’t talk that way.” He says attempting a Scottish accent.
“I’ll cut it.” (But sometimes a poem doesn’t have to be like we talk, does it…?) “Do you like the word dank?”
“Because it’s used for a basement usually, not a stable. You could use ‘odorous’ maybe. But we like thinking it was clean straw. We want it a little nice for the Baby Jesus. A nice manger with clean straw…”
And this is our banter in the wee hours of the morning as I wonder what the message for Day 11 will be. And I wonder if it was really cold when He was born. I wonder where the tangibles end and imaginings begin?
There’s a picture in my mind because of the carols I sing, because of the Christmas story I’ve been told, but is that the way it really was? And what’s important anyway? I want to understand what Jesus and Mary and Joseph were enduring. I couldn’t walk for three days after I had a baby. Charlie came fast but it knocked me off my feet.
Labor. In my mind I see her crouched beside that manger and I ache for her. Was there even a stool for her to sit on?
Release, relief, merging with mystery, miracle and wonder.
What does our heart hold onto? Like water being purified, can we strip away all that’s unnecessary in this message—the Christ Child’s birth…
If you, in the midst of the carols and cards carry sorrow, don’t be discouraged. It was a dark day for Him too.
He made Himself nothing to give us the light of His knowledge in a wee Babe’s face. Though a great company of heavenly hosts appeared saying, “Glory!”, He laid in straw in a gloomy dank place—the heart of the world.
Now here our hearts lay. Waiting expectantly for His light that flames the fibers of our inmost being—enlightening, warming, refining, overwhelming, extinguishing, the old life, quickening us to the place where we will no longer fear His flame because everything combustible will have been consumed.
Poor, and knowing sorrow—the deepest of the deep—He came, and comes into the dark cold cave of our hearts with His igniting Love. His birth on earth—the Gift everlasting—is received with sorrow, with humility. And with Awe.
Parts of this post were published on Not According to Plan, December 25, 2016, our first Christmas without Dad.
Photo: My mom holding my son
Well I see that you got “wee” and “dank” weaved into the tapestry! You’re right about wondering what it was really like, who can imagine the thoughts that went through Mary and Joseph’s minds and the hard realities they faced. And then we have that “wee” little face. That’s the part that kinda stops me in my tracks. Merry Christmas to you and yours Deb and heavy on the blessings! – Bruce
Hahaha Bruce! You made me laugh out loud! I think I will be smiling the rest of the day (autocorrect just typed smoking—glad I caught that). Merry Christmas and abundant blessings back!
That wee baby was no doubt born in a stable that was dank and uncomfortable..
and there is no doubt he changed our lives and brought us hope. Knowing all
that without question still leaves me wondering about the physical facts of that
divine day/night. Not important things, but things that we ask: like how much did
he weigh, how much weight did Mary gain, what did they use to tie the cord?
It really could have been a shoelace. That recent commercial for Hickies shoe
closures is incorrect, Google says shoe laces have been around for at least
28, 000 years. I am ever thankful for the hope and the salvation that He brought
to the world, but I would really like to know more than history has told us. It reminds
me that part of our job as writers is to record the most accurate and complete facts
of our time so that future civilizations will know us better.
You always make me think!! Thank you
a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.
When I read ‘dank’ it reminded me of one of my favorite words: ‘hunker’.
Writers use words that best convey the tone of what they are writing.
You know what they say, one writer’s tone is their treasure. ( r sumpin like that)
You are amazing, all grace, Mis’ Sarah. Your words! Are the words most accurate and complete. Future civilizations will know us better!
How very difficult it must have been for Mary and Joseph! We have so sanitized the story of its grittiness. But you have painted a very authentic picture of the tremendous grace and love that our Savior demonstrated on that night so long ago! Extraordinary, dear Deb! <3