Advent does something different to me: Messes my insides up; makes goo from my guts; urges me out of bed in the deep of night to sit with darkness and silence and tears I don’t understand; leaves me with an ache of want so big I sense I could expire from it. The striped chair in the living room is a witness to my watering and wanting, to the fiery clamp of my palms on both armrests. To the veins growing hot in my neck.
Do you feel what I feel?
“Coming” means to me that the cosmos is contracting and pushing again; the face of the world is exhausted and clenched like a fist and the hands of all of us are the single midwife to catch the slick, wet flesh of Salvation; kneel before heaven, receive and say yes. His eyes are shiny with amniotic liquid, dare we cut the cord that releases Him into our care? Someday down the road we’ll crack Him like an eggshell and He’ll pour out…dare we release Him into our care? Dare we not?
Do you see what I see?
I told Him during my striped-chair-prayers–with the tears I didn’t understand and the desire too big for my britches–that if He came to me I wouldn’t tell anyone…no one would have to know so no one would have to be jealous. I told Him it was okay if He just wanted to slip into space, into this room, into my arms…it would be our secret that I got to be with Him and touch His skin. “I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell anyone <beat-my-chest> I won’t tell anyone, come to me please.” I could almost taste Him with this ludicrous love I have for the Someone who would and did self-humiliate for the sake of everyone. There’s nothing He wouldn’t do to prove His love.
Have you ever felt suffocated by desire?
He didn’t come like I burned for Him to, but He did tell me to go touch this person or that person; somebody, anybody and it would near be the same thing. And I believe what He says is true, except my throat with the lump inside still clogs and throbs for only ever just Him.
Do you say what I say?
The scriptures talk about heaven being torn open like the flesh of a virgin giving birth and all I want to do is be there to wait and witness and partake of this most absurd event, as in: “Absurd” is the new wild, scandalous and immeasurable pursuit of humanity. All He aimed to do was set the world to rights, but we still get it so wrong sometimes. All He aimed to do was show the world how to be fully truly madly deeply alive because time had gone by and we had forgotten; caught in the web of our own-made, self-defeating systems. Show me again.
So He came to me and you and great aunt Sue as ridiculous as He possibly could and I can’t seem to shake the way I am drawn, lured…obsessed deep into this season and for 24 days I meditate on 24 different aspects and features of labor and stable–bald knees bent against the scratchin’ straw, what it means to sweat and bleed and have no room, to birth next to the dust motes, the brown eyes and warm breath of beasts, the smell of shit. The sound of screaming.
Do you hear what I hear?
Is this too stream of consciousness? Then let me say it this way: Come with me to Bethlehem, have yourself a squalling little Baby. Have yourself a Baby that will dog your every waking day if you only take a single sideways look at the Situation. This is not about religion, this is about relationship. How cliche. Advent doesn’t make room for cliches, which is why our King was born in a barn. How original. Which is why this is about a love affair and nothing less.
We aren’t safe, we cannot hide. He’s everywhere–inSpirited in every living thing. He breaks my heart in halves with how he haunts me. With how I can turn Him down or nail Him up. The child is born in the night. The hope of the world is heavy on the shoulders of an infant.
Be born again and again into our world and I’ll be Your midwife, wet nurse, nanny, mother.
And you and you and me too, we have some northern-pointing stars to lasso tight, drag down to the ground and push inside our hearts to light us up from within–the Baby in diapers depends on it. Open your eyes and fingers and pours and palms and shine. Even better, we’ll shine together like unity and we’ll fill His face with radiance, draw all men unto Love.
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