Monday, December 24, 2018

Blessed Are You

It was early, early morning -- that delicate time of day just before sunrise when it seems as if all of creation is asleep. In the cold, grey light she gazed at the infant sleeping in her arms. Less than an hour old, this tiny miracle shown perfect in every way. She drew him close to feel the rhythm of his steady heart beating against her skin. A tear fell from her eye, rolled across her cheek, and with her tears came the memories.

How amazed she'd been the day she found out she was pregnant! How exhilarated and yet, how terrified. Trying to justify her condition to her parents proved difficult, to say the least. But more excruciating was the afternoon she'd stood guileless before the man she loved and planned to marry. There were no words to make him understand. All he perceived that the awful truth: The baby she carried was not his child.

Facing rejection on every side, she'd fled to her aunt who graciously took her in for several months. There were days when she awoke with the nausea of morning sickness, and would lie in bed as the room spun around her. In her confusion and uncertainty, she cried out to God, who seemed to have forgotten her.

Was it a miracle when the man she loved took her back and married her as planned? Or was this somehow part of God's mysterious plan?

When the time was right, they left their small town together, as husband and wife, with her due date rapidly approaching.

Then the labor began. Tightening her abdomen with such force, she feared she wouldn't be able to go through with it. Ignoring her surroundings, she focused on her husband who coached her through each contraction. Perspiration streamed from her forehead as she panted long into the night. Suddenly the urge to push overwhelmed her limp, young body and the baby came forth.

Nothing of the past mattered anymore. He was finally here! Naked, exhausted, quivering in her arms.

Now, as the first silver streaks of the morning pierced through the cracks in the stable, she carefully, tenderly, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.

by Robin James Gunn

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Octavo Kalendas Januarii
   The Eighth of the Calends of January

Anno a creatione mundi,
   The year from the creation of the world,
quando in principio Deus creavit caelum et terram,
   when in the beginning God created heaven and earth,
quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono;
   five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine:
a diluvio vero,
   from the deluge,
anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo;
   the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven:
a nativitate Abrahae,
   from the birth of Abraham,
anno bis millesimo quintodecimo;
   the year two thousand and fifteen:
a Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto,
   from Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt,
anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo;
   the year one thousand five hundred and ten:
ab unctione David in regem,
   from David's being anointed King,
anno millesimo trigesimo secundo;
   the year one thousand and thirty-two:
Hebdomada sexagesima quinta,
   in the sixty-fifth week
juxta Danielis prophetiam;
   according to the prophecy of Daniel:
Olympiade centesima nonagesima quarta;
   in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad:
ab urbe Roma condita,
   from the building of the city of Rome,
anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo;
   the year seven hundred and fifty-two:
anno Imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo;
   in the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus:
toto Orbe in pace composito,
   the whole world being in peace:
sexta mundi aetate,
   in the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christus,
   Jesus Christ,
aeternus Deus aeternique Patris Filius,
   the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father,
mundum volens adventu suo piissimo consecrare,
   wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming,
de Spiritu Sancto conceptus,
   being conceived of the Holy Ghost,
novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus,
   and nine months since his conception having passed,
in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine
   in Bethlehem of Juda is born of the Virgin Mary,
factus homo:
   being made man:

- The Proclamation of Christmas, from the Roman Mass

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