SCRIPTURE: LUKE 2:4-7
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
REFLECTION by The Rev. Mary Hudak
I can feel Mary’s eagerness to meet Jesus for the first time – her baby – the baby she carried in her womb for nine months. I can close my eyes and remember the awe I felt the first time my first baby moved inside me and I felt it. I dreamed what my first child would look like which increased my excitement for the day of her birth. Yet I was also filled with hesitation. Would the baby be okay? I worried about the baby’s health and if I could keep the baby safe from harm. I already loved this child, yet to be born, completely.
I wonder if others feel this same anticipation, excitement, fear, love when they are pregnant with something inside themselves they are called to bring forth into the world. I wonder if similar roller coaster feelings exist in an author the last few days before a book is published? Or in a photographer right before a photograph is printed?
In the process of creating, the result develops power and energy all its own. That is what makes true art alive and engaging. And the creator wants to protect his or her creation – keep it safe and away from harm. Are birthing mothers and fathers artists? I believe so. We are given a gift from God – a human being, that can be looked at like a blank piece of paper. The end product already exists – the paper. Whether the paper becomes a story or a photo, it still remains a piece of paper. Like the paper, every child is already born as it is meant to be – a beloved child of God – yet every child needs guidance in making meaning of his or her life. At some point, the novel, photograph, person develops its own meaning, separate but related to those who brought them into being. In novels, characters develop traits that the author did not anticipate, in photos, a shadow not accounted for can make the photo spectacular, the child grows beyond the boundaries once useful and develops his or her own identity. Yet the artist desires to protect and maintain the integrity of the work, which is often the unique piece of self the artist gave faithfully to the work.
I wonder how Mary felt the day she realized she could not, should not, keep Jesus, her darling baby safe? Did she remember that all creation is ultimately a gift from the Ultimate Creator, God? All art comes from the gifts, insights, and talents that are part of us from the beginning, knit into our being while we are formed in our mother’s womb. Sometimes it is the artist’s letting go and giving the creation back to God in order for it to become what it truly can be. It is somewhat ironic to think about giving the same gifts God gives us, back to God on Christmas, or maybe it isn’t!
Alleluia! For today a child is born, One who shows us the way of life and grace. Help us see Christ, no matter where He may be found. Open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to the miracle of saving grace. Amen.
May you be the person God created you to be, may you accept the love Jesus has for you, and may you breathe easy with the renewing breath of the Spirit. Amen.