Mary is really uncomfortable.
Walking makes her have mild contractions.
Riding eases her sore feet but causes its own misery.
Her body is unwieldy, strange,
and she is far from home.
Far from all the women she knows —
the women having babies,
the women helping.
She had started young, sneaking into the tent
where the moaning laborer,
surrounded by silent supporters,
spent long hours in cycles of painful work and fitful rest
until the moment arrived –
her favorite moment, the one she waited for.
It never got old, being in the space
where one life made room for another.
Hearing the rising noise like an oncoming storm,
seeing the bustle of figures making final preparations,
then the instant change in the air when the baby was fully born.
The moment when time stood still,
when she held her breath in the corner,
awaiting the croaky little cry.
The immediate flood of relief and joy when it came.
The change in the new mother,
coming back from far away,
eyes opening wide,
looking for the blessed product of all that work,
all that pain, all that waiting.
Mary knows how it is supposed to go,
but that will not be her story.
Forces beyond her control have put her in this place in this time,
and her birth story will unfold in Bethlehem,
the town of her betrothed, Joseph,
whose kindness and solicitude toward her
warms her heart and keeps at bay the despair
at the prospect of all this unknown.
Mary trusts God.
She proved that from the start.
None of this would have happened
if she had not had implicit trust in the God of her ancestors
to fulfill the promise made,
to weave her, with her consent, into the vast tapestry
of the story of Israel,
the story of redemption,
the story of unconquerable love.
God is midwifing humanity through Mary,
midwifing all people toward compassion and unity,
slowly unfolding the plan of salvation for every soul created.
Mary is midwifing God,
offering her body and her life
to bring God into flesh,
to nurture God,
to shepherd and guard God against human ignorance and hatred.
Mary is really uncomfortable,
and she doesn’t know exactly what is coming,
but she trusts God’s promises,
and she trusts God to provide.
And God provides.