I can hardly believe it, but two thousand years later it’s easy to think that the stable was a romantic place for a birth. Cozy light, cooing doves, an immaculate virgin, a smiling baby.
The stable was an awful place for a birth, cold and dark, filled with pooping cows and flatulating donkeys and enough crawling germs to make any new mother recoil in horror. Into this place you came, slippery, bloody, squalling. They caught you before you hit the floor, and blessed Yahweh for the one clean place—yards of soft cloth your mother prepared for you.
Quiet at her breast, you blinked dark baby eyes, sticky with the first tears of your humanity, taking in the world into which you’d emerged.
And you were perfectly at home.
You lay at rest as the bacteria crept over to greet the king of the world. In the awful vulnerability of newbornness, silken skin against rough hay, tiny organs pushing back the cold and sickness, you lay at rest.
Today I try to create a perfect space for your coming—everything clean, neatly wrapped, rich, delectable, quiet. I cannot get it done. It won’t be just so and I cannot pull it off, but into this space you come anyway—into this place of unfinished ideas, homemade dolls with too small of heads, disappointing fruitcake, presents clumsily swaddled in cheap paper, merry voices too loud around me. You come. You are perfectly at home here, and where you enter the world is made holy.
You are beyond me. I love you and weep for you and ache for you to come.