O Simplicitas.

An angel came to me
and I was unprepared
to be what God was using.
Mother I was to be.
A moment I despaired,
thought briefly of refusing.
The angel knew I heard.
According to God’s Word
I bowed to this strange choosing.

A palace should have been
the birthplace of a king
(I had no way of knowing).
We went to Bethlehem;
it was so strange a thing.
The wind was cold, and blowing,
my cloak was old, and thin.
They turned us from the inn;
the town was overflowing.

God’s Word, a child so small
who still must learn to speak
lay in humiliation.
Joseph stood, strong and tall.
The beasts were warm and meek
and moved with hesitation.
The Child born in a stall?
I understood it: all.
Kings came in adoration.

Perhaps it was absurd;
a stable set apart,
the sleepy cattle lowing;
and the incarnate Word
resting against my heart.
My joy was overflowing.
The shepherds came, adored
the folly of the Lord,
wiser than all men’s knowing. -Madeleine L’Engle

After yesterday’s impossible things, I thought this poem was a nice juxtaposition of the impossible and the commonplace. This story does seem complicated . . . and then, at the same time, what is more common and ordinary than a woman giving birth? It happens every day, all over the world. To be sure, each birth, each life entering the world is a miracle, but you can hardly say that it’s unusual. The only things unusual about Jesus’ birth are how ordinary it ended up being. This is another reason to laugh with joy over the Christmas story: rather than entering this world with great fanfare, we get a story of a baby born in a dirty stable. To save the world. O Simplicitas, indeed.

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