(scripture: Luke 2:1-7)

The entrance is painful, then quiet.
The quiet of a normal night,
With rustling here and there,
Mice in the hay, blood on the floor,
And the muffled exhaustion of the after-birth.

It was political red tape that brought them to this place,
And a raw-boned ride on a donkey.
It was commuter traffic and out-of-town guests.
And it was warmer among the animals than it was outside.

We like to think she had help, besides the fumbling murmurs of her husband.
We like to think the rags were clean.
We don’t like to think about problems with breastfeeding,
Or the possibility of tearing and infection,
Or the first sleepless night.

Let us ponder, we who are born of women,
The miracles of
A safe pregnancy,
A healthy baby,
Enough to eat,
The warmth of animals,
A hug, or a back rub,
And the breath of a slumbering infant.

You still work in our weakness,
Molding miracles out of mess,
Wrapping gifts in skin.

We are grateful.
For the tiny, squalling Gift
That shook the world to its core.

Jesus Christ, Word made Flesh,
To this world of storms, squalls, tempests, and gales,
To this world of anger, conflict, violence, and war,
Give your peace.

Suggested Hymn: Angels from the Realms of Glory

(from “Come As a Child: A Christmastide Devotional,” prayers by Pastor Mark van Stee)

Christmastide 1: Crush
Christmastide 2: Sift
Christmastide 3: Flicker
Christmastide 4: Spill
Christmastide 5: Stifle
Christmastide 7: Plunge
Christmastide 8: Kiss
Christmastide 9: Burst

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