The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

December 22, 2008

Mary's Letter to Baby Jesus

My Dear Sweet Baby,

My heart trembles when I think about the events surrounding your arrival.

It is not that your birth was so difficult. For generations women like me have received their children as I welcomed you on that day. Every baby comes into this world through a bewildering mixture of pain and joy.

No it is not the physical pain of your arrival that moves most deeply in me. It is the strange mystery surrounding your birth that stirs my spirit and the fear I have for what these things may mean for your future.

What can I tell you of these strange events? Will my words seem to you like the raving of a woman who lives in terror of what others might think? Will you hear only the fear in my words and miss the struggle for faith and trust that lies deeper in my heart?

The world does not put much trust in angel visions of the night. People are not likely to be impressed with stories of strange shepherds appearing miraculously to celebrate your birth. My people are practical, hardworking, ordinary people. We have never been anything special. No one destined for greatness would ever be born in our midst.

And yet, there were signs…so many signs…so many words that spoke of you as one who would be great and who would know God in such a deep and strong way. These words spoke of your coming to bring hope and light for all people. They said you would bring salvation to the world.

I almost hesitate to tell you of these things. The words seem so unbelievable. Even now I wonder if I heard properly. Perhaps I only imagined all this talk of your greatness. Perhaps I should be still and tell nothing of the time the angel Gabriel came and promised your birth. Perhaps I should stay silent about that holy night when your birth was celebrated by a heavenly host and shepherds knelt at your bedside.

We are such poor people. We have no power. Why would God’s anointed be found in such humble circumstances? How could the world possibly be expected to embrace a messiah born in a stable?

The world to which you have come is a confusing and troubling place. I know how this world receives messengers of God. People seldom welcome gifts of tenderness and love with the openness and embrace you might hope for. There is always pain and struggle for tellers of the truth. Love often meets violence and hatred in a world that is frequently cold and harsh. The words the angel Gabriel spoke about you cast fear into my heart.

I want to protect you from the suffering I hear in the angel’s words. I want my tears to wash away the dark force of tragedy I see overshadowing your life. God may be kind. And God may be good to us. But I know that God does not always make things easy, especially for those who choose to live in love and call others to open to the force of love that is God. I want to save you from the hard road I fear may lie ahead.

But what can I do against God? How can I stop God’s will from unfolding as God plans? If you are God’s chosen one, I must not get in the way. I will not resist God’s will for your life, even though my heart breaks to think of the lonely way I see unfolding from your birth.

So, I ponder all these things. I wonder what words can I give you in which you might find strength. What prayer can I offer that will sustain you through the dark days that will surely come?

My prayer for you sweet child is that you may grow to hear deeply in your heart words I learned as a child. They are words my mother taught me from our holy book where the poet says that

Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
when he delights in our way;
though we stumble we shall not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds us by the hand.
(Psalm 37:23,24)

I pray for you sweet child that you may always know that God delights in you and, even when you may stumble, or be pushed, the Lord holds you by your hand.

You see my child our problem is that we forget who we are. We forget that we are God’s precious gift. And the Giver will never let the gift be destroyed. You may be hurt; you may be pushed into dark and painful places; you may feel absolutely forsaken and alone, but the hand of God never lets you go. God is always with you, holding you, surrounding you with love and mercy.

When we know God’s power of love, we find the beauty and truth that is God’s presence. You are this beauty. You are the perfect image of God. In you we see who we were created to become. We see our true selves. We see in you, little baby Jesus, the destiny for which our lives came into being. So, even when you struggle with the harshness of the world, do not forget who you are. Do not forget that you are held and cherished.

As you feel my arms cradling you against my breast with all the tenderness and love you could ever imagine, I pray you may know God holds us all in this same way. When people come to hurt you, when they try to make you feel small, or to take away your beauty, know that the tenderness of God is stronger and more real. The gentleness of God is always with you. You are good and true. God’s love always lives in you.

You only need to open your heart to this love, as I open my heart now to you. You only need to choose to return to that soft tender place within. There you will know that nothing can separate you from the God who has sent you into the world to be the presence of love. In the tenderness you will find truth. In the softness you will know strength.

The flow of love that has brought you here never ends; it never changes; it never gets tired or runs out. It is love that keeps the world going. It is love that makes your heart beat and the blood run in your veins. It is all God’s gift, God’s mercy unfolding in us and all around us. There is nothing more we need to know, nothing more we need to achieve or accomplish. We need only again and again to abandon ourselves to the truth of the love that carries us through life. May you choose, even in the darkest times to know this love that never lets you go.

May you always trust that, deeper than any tragedy, there is the loving Presence. When we turn and remember, we will know that the broken bits of life are restored by the love in which you have been born. The wounds that so often hinder our lives are healed when we surrender to the love that has sent you to live among us.

You are the source of all healing. As you open to this great destiny God has for you, I pray that you may always find hearts that open to you and receive from you the love and light that is God’s presence.

I love you, as I know I have been and will always be loved by you,

Your Mother Mary.

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