The Manger Can Wait

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And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
— Luke 2:7

Not yet.  I can’t.
I can’t lay him down.
Not quite yet.

I can’t stop looking at him.
He is so small.  So perfect.
Tiny little nose.
Delicate little ears.
Dark swirls of hair.

My hands have stopped shaking,
and now I keep stroking his soft cheek,
his downy head, his swaddled limbs.
He is so beautiful.
My heart is filled with such joy.

Joseph has brought order back to this borrowed space
after our rather tumultuous night,
and he just stepped outside
for a better look at the bright star we saw rising
as we entered town.

It seems like so long ago,
though it was only hours –
the longest night of my life,
and the hardest.
I am so glad that part is over,
that we still have a little time before dawn —
a precious hour to have this child,
this moment,
to ourselves.

I am so happy,
I am so proud,
I can’t stop smiling at this baby . . .
but right behind my joy are other thoughts,
thoughts I want to keep at a distance.

The God of Israel has brought me this far;
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will give me strength
to do what I have been asked to do.
I trust God.

I believe that when I lay this child down in the manger
for the first time,
a manger which Joseph has made as clean and inviting as possible,
God will provide.
God will fulfill.
God will sustain.

I trust God.

But in this peaceful, honest moment,
I don’t wish the foretelling of the prophets,
the fulfillment of the promise,
to come to pass.
Not quite yet.

I will lay him down.
I will do it for the first time,
I will do it a hundred times,
I will do it a final time.
I have not forgotten my Yes.

I will do my part.
I trust God.

right now,
in this moment,
the star shines,
the child sleeps,
the mother gazes, treasures, ponders . . .

and the manger . . .

for now,
the manger
can wait.


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