Pondering These Things


As a birth professional and as a woman and, most telling, as a mere mortal, I’ve been pondering these things for a long time. The following are pieces of narrative of how the story has been told thus far. I offer these words, that are not my own, to reveal how the story is so much bigger than me and yet includes me just the same. I have tried to string the following words together like Christmas lights to shine into dark places that long for hope to come.  I continue to consider how such subtle and obvious rays of light and threads of grace and mercy, joy and love, blessings overcoming curses are woven in the fabric of time’s tale. I could offer my own commentary but I am letting the words of others throughout time speak for themselves. I have been most impacted by listening, and then listening again, and again – Christmas after Christmas, day after day. With each birth I witness, I understand a little bit more of how amazing humanity is and, most revealing, how awesomely God loves us to have taken the form of humanity to undo what has been done, what we have done to ourselves. With each breath, I can breathe in something fresh to not only sustain physical survival but, because of Christmas, every breath can stimulate spiritual vitality to thrive as it was meant to.  So without further ado:

“In the beginning…God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number…fill the whole earth’…and God saw all that He had made and it was very good.  Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden…in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you must not eat; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die’…and the serpent said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?…when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it…then to the woman God said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.”

– Genesis 1:1, 27-28; 2:8, 15-17; 3:1-8, 16

“It is always winter and never Christmas.”

-C.S. Lewis; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will be called Immanuel…Before she goes into labor, she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.

– Isaiah 7:14; 66:7-11

And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

– Luke 1:46-55

“…the attending ministry she was offered: to bear in her womb infinite weight and lightness; to carry in hidden, finite inwardness, nine months of Eternity; to contain in slender vase of being… Then bring to birth, push out into air, a Man-child needing like any other, milk and love – but who was God. This was the moment no one speaks of, when she could still refuse. A breath unbreathed, Spirit, suspended, waiting,..Consent, courage unparalleled, opened her utterly.”

– Denise Levertov; Annunciation

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so we can fear less.”

– Marie Curie (1867 – 1934

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to be His children.”

– Galatians 4:4-5

“Hark the herald angels sing, ‘Gory to the newborn King’. Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise; join the triumph of the skies. Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King’. Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord. Laid in time, behold Him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity. Pleased with man with man to dwell – Jesus, our Immanuel. Hark the herald angels sing, ‘glory to the newborn King’. Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the son of Righteousness!  Light and life to all He brings. Risen with healing in His wings. Mild he lays His glory by; born that men may no more die. Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth. Hark the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King’.”

– Charles Wesley, 1739

“They kept asking, ‘What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.’ Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, ‘Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”

– John 16:18-21

“All must endure great travail and conflict when they are first converted to the Lord, but later they have unspeakable joy. They are like people trying to light a fire, the smoke gets in their eyes, their eyes begin to water, but they succeed in what they want. It is written ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:29), and so we must kindle divine fire with tears and trouble.”

– Anna Syncletica; 5th century desert mother

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am marvelously made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts,, oh God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with You.

        – Psalm 139:13-18

“May today there be peace within.  May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.  May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content knowing you are a child of God.”

– St. Teresa of Avila 1577


Photo by Jamie Wasson; Mother and child from birth she attended, 2015



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