Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Matt tells me today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. I had to preach on this day a few years ago while being pregnant (but not this pregnant) and I must say it was really a rough experience.

On the whole, in the days since Christmas, since I didn't have any time to think before, and am now feeling the full effects of pushing through the week of Christmas on adrenalin, I've been thinking on and off about Mary. Particularly, I've been struck by the timing of her labor and delivery. Obviously, the whole thing was ordained and orchestrated by God--to fulfill the prophets, to have the Shepherds in the right place, etc. etc. But when I think how much time I spend fretting, this late in a pregnancy, about timing, I find it extraordinary that God would time things So Badly for his own mother. (I jest, but only a little.) The very idea of taking a long very uncomfortable trip and giving birth in a place absent all reasonable comfort without one's own mother and family around in support is terrible to me. And yet Mary went ahead and did it. And we can probably reasonably assume that she didn't fuss. And that she trusted God. I am so devoid of this lack of fussing and possession of trust that I can barely look at the picture of the nativity without shame and guilt.

Because from 36 weeks on my whole life is generally consumed with worry and anxiety about timing. There is no good moment to have a baby. You'll miss something--all the children at home will do something interesting that you'll miss, papers won't get graded, something at church will fall through the cracks. I would like to plan ahead for all these eventualities. I would like to be able to schedule and be in control. But the only thing I'm allowed to have control of, when the moment arrives, is the choice to give life, to give birth.

And for those who don't make it, who flinch in the face of this thing, I grieve and morn, and today I pray.


Rev Dr Mom said...

Of course, if you read the Matthean version, she didn't have to travel to Bethlehem, she was already there. But then she had to shortly run off to Egypt with a newborn, so you can wonder which might have been worse. :)

Anne Kennedy said...

I suppose you could say that if you read Matthew in isolation. Matthew doesn't actually say anything about where Mary was. It skips that part. Fortunately for us, Luke fills in the timeline.