All day I pray to be a womb for God.
On the way through the early blue light to the dentist, I whisper it to Father, “A womb, Lord. Come dwell in me.”
When we come home from the appointment to crusty bowls still on the table and the entrails of scarves and mittens and boots flung everywhere, I remember and pray it in earnest, the arms filling with the strewn innards, the words coming breathless like a woman made heavy, “A womb, Lord, a womb, a dwelling place for You.”
It’s when the phone rings, supper hour and I’m caught off guard, that I forget. I don’t even remember that I have forgotten until afterward, after dinner and after readings, when we light the candles and she who is swollen with the Child lumbers ever closer to her deliverance.
It’s when she reaches for the wooden figure of Mary that I remember. I see the swelling silhouette of Mary there on the back of the donkey and the starkness of it strikes me, what it really means to be a womb.
Mary’s distended. Her skin is pulled taut. Her belly swells round and her abdomen bulges and she is drawn to the outer rim of herself.
To be a dwelling place of God, a womb for Christ, means to be extended, taken to one’s outer edges… stretched.
To be a womb for God means there’ll be stretchmarks.
I reach out and touch Mary full with Child and I hurt in the knowing: A true Christmas, one that God indwells, will experience pangs and pain and I will feel myself asked to love to the furthest edges of myself, asked to extend grace to the outermost reaches, asked to grow full and large and round with God.
To be a womb for Christ, I’ll feel my inner walls, my boundaries, stretch.
Stretching the shape of a soul hurts.
I pray for the names of those pregnant with Christ this Christmas who will extend themselves for difficult family members, who will let God take them to the utmost extremity of selflessness, who will be heavy with the Grace-Child. And I pray for the willingness to return a phone call and let go of the stiff sides of my heart so that God might stir within.
I pray for the soul stretchmarks.
Little One blows out the candles and I’m expecting Christ.
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