I like the 2007 movie “The Nativity Story,” because it presents the story of Mary and Joseph and the events leading up to the birth of Jesus with a gritty realism that easily (and usually) gets lost in the romanticized crèches and Christmas pageants that depict the Christmas narrative. Both of the couple God chose to raise His Son had to face excruciatingly difficult circumstances and attendant decisions when Mary was “found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” In the two poems below, I have attempted to portray the consternation felt by each of them when an angel brought the message that they had been chosen to be parents to the Holy One of Israel, Emmanuel, the Messiah.
The Husbandry of God
How can I contain this word from the Lord?
His light has pierced my being
And sown in single seed
Both glory and shame.
Content was I
To wed in lowliness
And live in obscurity,
With purity my only dower.
Now, ravished with power,
I flout the conventions of man
To incubate God.
In lowliness how shall I bear it?
In modesty how shall I tell it?
What now shall I become?
But the fruit of God's planting
Is His to harvest.
No gleaner I, like Ruth,
But the field itself,
In whom my Lord lies hid.
--Elton D. Higgs
Joseph In Waiting
Familiar wood now nears its goal,
Purpose carved from formless block.
My wife sits waiting by,
Custodian of promised Son,
Full with Spirit-crafted child.
How strange has been
This celibate intimacy
Translated besmirched betrothal
Into Holy co-habitation.
Others praise an act of mercy,
Taking shameful form into my house;
I know that in her Spirit-quickened womb
Lies more than chaste maid
Could ever have been.
Match made on earth
Transmuted now to Heaven’s pairing,
We dwell together with nascent God
And await the Day of Deliverance.
Elton D. Higgs
Dec. 12, 2015
Image: "Rembrandt van Rijn 195" by Workshop of Rembrandt - Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_van_Rijn_195.jpg#/media/File:Rembrandt_van_Rijn_195.jpg