Advent 17: Sacred Trimester

Favorite Sunday of the year yesterday with all the little shepherds and angels and adorable pageant mistakes. This is the first year I didn’t have a child in it. Sigh.

The whole tableau is so human, and reminds me of another Christmas poem of mine from the archives. It’s about a pregnant Mary going to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who’s also pregnant. Both are visited by angels who say, “Do not be afraid.” Both will have baby boys who show others the Way of Love.

Sacred Trimester

Mary set out to visit Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea. When Mary entered her home, Elizabeth ran to greet her. (Luke 1)

They make tea,
clear out the spare room,
take afternoon naps.

Eat popcorn,
sew little garments,
compare angelic visits:

And what does the angel say to you?

The angel says old women give birth,
fatherless children show the way,
the lonely and wandering are closest to God.

Like a grapefruit heavy with juice,
you are taut with blessing.

History will call you holy,
lowly, or brave.

But don’t forget—you are a body,
arms, legs, collarbone, earlobes, womb,
veins, fingernails, spine, uterus.

A body spilling its juices,
a heroine leaving home
so she can return to it,
a woman born again and again
into her total carnal goodness.