A note from the author:
My son – through my rape – was born in August of 1995. This below piece was written in 1996. For the first time, I really connected to and thought about how Mary, mother of Jesus, may have felt; how she may have been rejected by her community as pregnant and unwed. She must have had to put up with a lot of hurt, heart break, rejection and gossiping from her community. She was one strong lady.
Mary must have had a steadfast belief in her faith. Who else ever then or now would believe that a virgin could be pregnant?
I contemplated what having to go and register in Bethlehem may have felt like, filled with people summoned back.
By this time in my life, I had been deemed a backslider by my church community, because I was an unwed mother of a child conceived through rape – a child whom I refused to abort. That hasn’t changed with a lot of people. Yet, I feel closer, in some ways, to God than I did when I was deemed a “Christian” in “good standing”.
Christmas is a beautiful time, a time of hope; and I hope that the below piece conveys that message in some small way.
There was nothing special about that night.
It was dark and cold; hostility hung thick in the air.
Tired children cried, worried parents pondered.
Uncertainty whirled about them.
People were everywhere, but nowhere familiar.
Donkeys brayed with tiredness,
Their heavy loads increasing in weight with every step.
The train of people snaked through the fearsome countryside.
Danger lurked inconspicuous, but yet real and tangible.
Animals lay, lame and weak by the wayside,
Unable to put another foot forward.
Unable to stand, unable to go on.
They waited, silently groaning, hungry, thirsty and weak.
The travelers passed by, unable to help, no food to revive.
No answers for the pleading, questioning eyes.
A child reached out, and strokes comfort and whispers goodbyes spoken only through tears.
Summoned subjects, quietly quaking with fear, yet connected through community keeping each other strong.
Bethlehem bustled with life, with the tired, the hungry the traumatized and dying.
Barefoot children ran behind pitiful parents, begged for bread and living water.
Spiced air milled, intoxicatingly mixed with oils, perfumes & filth.
Here, nobody cared; friends fought their friends for shelter.
Shoulders turned as cold as the night.
Faces turned away; keys locked out the world.
Money jangled in heavy pockets of greed – advantage well and truly taken.
No worth, no warmth, no room, no shelter.
Her time grew closer as they wandered the streets;
Desperation sharpened with every pain she felt.
No midwife, no anesthetic, no care, no home.
The stable door opened and urgently beckoned.
Cobwebs brushed the musty smell of straw;
Animal breath mistily rested on the dirt floor.
Alone in a strange town – pain-filled, scared.
Each push wracked her body with pain.
She doubted, she screamed, she cried and she questioned.
“Why? Why me? Why here? Why now?”
“Why doesn’t God help? Why does He do nothing?”
The life inside her gradually made His way out.
A baby’s cry cut the atmosphere with a knife.
It was over and yet it had only just begun.
She was nothing special, she wasn’t anywhere special;
But He was everything special, and in this moment, time stopped and she understood.
Excited, yet exhausted, she lay back with her precious child.
And simply smiled.
One day He will belong to the world, but in this moment He is mine.
A new baby, a new life, a new love that lifted her into the unpredictability of motherhood.
The same world waited outside that stable door.
The same heads bickered and turned away.
The same greed took all it could; hate still poisoned where it could.
But a light was born, a light that shone out in the darkness;
A light that would change lives, spread love and hope to the hopeless;
A light that attracted the wise and the humble, while angels sang.
That night that was nothing special, yet that woman that thought she was nothing special
Became treasured, precious, remembered, celebrated and loved.
Peace filled that stable and music filled her heart.
She swaddled Him, she cradled Him, she kissed Him and
A note of gratitude from the administrator of The Lay Artiste:
Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this beautiful piece. Your words inspired me to paint the Blessed Mary and our newborn King (below image). Your words are a blessing. Thank you!