Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fluttering Wings

As I approach the manger, like the little drummer boy I wonder, what can I give? I have no gold, frankincense, or myrrh. I don't even play an instrument.
But what I do have are these words.
Humbly, I offer this story as my gift, to the baby Jesus, Saviour of the world.
And to his mother, who said yes.
For what child can be born without a mother? 


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

The sky was gone. 
Replaced by a mist that wrapped itself around the evergreens, making them look like ghosts. 
When the first movement came, it startled her, just a flutter, a feeling of delicately forming wings deep inside. Three days before Christmas.
The mist began to lift.


The sky was steely grey, the air, cold and damp.
She returned to her studying, nestled in the back corner of the large campus library. The first snowflakes were descending outside, making it hard for her to concentrate, a welcome distraction as she struggled to conjugate the Spanish verbs which normally came easy. But now, there was this voice throwing a wrench into all of it.
What if you’re pregnant?
She shook her head. 
Stop it, just stop it. She’d been careful. She was always careful. 
She drooped down further into the hard plastic chair.
Except for missing those couple days of her pills, the weekend she and Derek went away to hike and she forgot to bring them.
Her heart sank. But her hands went immediately to her stomach. 
Her eyes glanced longingly outside.
The snowflakes grew larger. They started to stick all over the sidewalks, on the grass.


The sky was pitch black, filled with stars.
The angel was huge, towering over Mary in a way that frightened her. She rubbed her eyes, shook her head, certain this was a dream, pulling up the light sheet that covered her to her neck.  Just roll over and go back to sleep.
But He remained. Looking down at her. The light from his clothing was so bright she could see it even with her eyes closed. 
She got out of bed, stood in front of him. 
He spoke.
It made her tremble. Deep inside. And she couldn't stop the shaking. Her heart quickened and grew larger with the angel’s words.
She simply bowed her head, said yes, and God gently hovered, planting His seed.
A shooting star fell just outside her window.


The sky was dark with thunderclouds, hanging low.
His words were talons. Sharp. She fell to the ground beside his car.
“How could you be so stupid? Why didn't you tell me you hadn't brought your pills? I wouldn't have touched you.”
Softly, her head bowed, “I did tell you. You didn't listen. You never listen.
“So now you’re gonna blame me?”
He was pacing, back and forth, anger in every stride. She never thought he'd be like this. She pulled her knees up to her chest, prepared for the next attack.
He looked up at the grey, heavy sky, shaking his fist. Raindrops started to fall.
“This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening! My brilliant girlfriend gets herself knocked up. I always said you were too smart for your own good.”
He kicked at some small stones with the toes of his converse sneakers. They sprayed all over her.
“You’re not considering having this kid, are you? Neither of us are ready for this Katharine. You know that right?”
This time she was the one not listening. Instead she was remembering. Her best friend’s warning. This guy isn’t right for you. Too possessive. Too selfish. 
She got up and walked away.
He got into his fancy car,  the tires screeching as he turned sharply out of the parking lot. He didn't look back once.
But she did.
The dark clouds opened up and the rain came down, hard, drenching her.


The sky was a brilliant blue with puffy white clouds.
When she awoke, she was changed. A song arose within her and it spilled out from her lips as she laid on her back, her face towards heaven, praising God for visiting her and blessing her.
Throughout the day her heart sang. Its melody reached her mother first. 
“You must be excited to see Joseph tonight.”
She stopped sweeping, laid the broom aside, and looked at her mother, squarely. 
A ray of sunlight blinded her temporarily. She lifted her hand to shield her eyes.
“Momma, I'm so excited! There’s something I need to tell you.”
Together they sat on the bench in front of their house.
“An angel of God came to me last night Momma. He told me Yahweh chose me to bear His son. I believe I am pregnant by the Holy Spirit.”
Her mother’s face was blank. 
She wasn't sure how to respond. Her daughter was engaged to another family’s son. This didn't make sense. She was level headed. 
“I’m sure you just had a very vivid dream.”
Mary replied, boldly.
“It was not a dream.”
She shared the details of the visitation, hoping to see support on her mother’s face. Instead shock gave way to a strange discomfort, maybe even dismay.
Her own mother didn't believe.
The puffy clouds blocked the sun, but only for a moment.


The sky was pink as the sun hastened down towards the horizon.
Her cell phone rang just as she was about to take a nap. She was exhausted lately. Typical of early pregnancy from what she read on the Internet.
It was Derek. She considered not answering, still deeply wounded from their encounter a couple days before. 
She didn't respond.
“You there? Hey, I'm sorry for the way I reacted the other day. I was just so blown away by the news. Can I come over so we can talk?”
She was hopeful. Maybe he was taking responsibility. 
When he walked into her room she suddenly felt queasy. He tried to pull her into his arms and she stiffened. 
“Hey baby, it’s okay. It’s all gonna be fine. I love you.”
She softened, leaned into his chest. He smelled woodsy and familiar, and as she looked up into his eyes she was mesmerized, their deep blue drawing her in. She didn't want to make this decision without him.
Before she knew it they were naked, exploring the familiar territory of each other’s bodies. She was a virgin when she met him. He was her first love.
The sun set, completely, and the sky grew dark.
“I spoke with my parents. Told them about this situation we’re in.”
She didn't respond.
“We’re too young for this Katie. We haven't finished college, don't have jobs. I know I'm not ready to be a Dad yet. And I don't think you’re ready to be a Mom. You have grad school just ahead, and so much you want to do before having kids. Me too.”
The queasy feeling returned. She swallowed hard.
“They offered to pay for an abortion.”
Tears came to her eyes. The same advice came from her parents. Your future is so bright. You can have a child later, once you get your career going. 
Of course. 
Her head told her they were right. She wasn't ready for this. Not at all. A close friend had an abortion a few months ago. She went with her, helped her afterwards. 
It was the best solution.
They held each other for a while longer before he got up, dressed, and left.
There were no stars to be seen in the sky that night.


The sky was early morning red. A warning.
She missed her period. The seed was growing.
Joseph was coming to see her later. He grew more uncomfortable in her presence. He wanted to believe her story, tried to, but he was only a man.
She understood. 
Her own family questioned her constantly, just with their glances. Some in the community shunned her as she walked in the marketplace. Her family kept her close, afraid of the judgement that had already started in their own hearts.
He sat down, holding her hand limply, like it wasn't even there.
“I can’t be a father to someone else’s child.”
“Not even God’s?”
“Mary, every child is from God.”
She looked up at him, placing her hand firmly on top of his.
“Search your heart, Joseph.”
He pulled his hand away, turning his face from hers.
He heard thunder in the distance.
“I have. The engagement is off. But I will do this as quickly and quietly as possible. I don't want to hurt you.”
She tried to hold back the tears. He already had.
She left. Practically running all the way to see her cousin Elizabeth.
The angel made a second appearance. To Joseph.
The storm blew in and lightning flashed, illuminating the entire sky.


The sky was charcoal.
The delicate fluttering inside became stronger wings that pushed their way out of her womb and into the waiting world.
Light appeared. 
She named her Dawn Marie.


The sky was twilight, and fireflies began to dance.
She reached over, gently grabbed his arm, and pulled him away, just to the side of the tent that was set up for the guests at the wedding. The music continued as people danced, celebrating earnestly. 
She noticed. They were almost out of wine.
Into his ear.
“You must do something. They are almost out of wine, son.”
A deep breath. A sigh. A shake of his head.
“It’s not my time yet. I’m not ready.”
She squeezed his arm, looked into his eyes with purpose. 
She knew better.
“Yes it is.”
Turning to the servants she said, “Do whatever he says.”
They wisely listened to them both.
The best wine was served last, a surprise to all who attended.


The sky was a pure Christmas white, beautifully wide open.
Katharine and Tim found a couple seats towards the front. The auditorium was filling up quickly. 
She was nervous. How funny. 
He leaned close, squeezed her hand, and whispered in her ear.
“She’ll do just fine.”
She touched his face with her hand and kissed him gently on his lips.
“Thank you.” 
The lights went out. The curtain opened.
There she stood, all by herself, the microphone just in front of her. The spotlight illuminated her white dress, and the wings on her back sparkled. They had worked for hours getting all that glitter onto those wings. 
Tears welled up in her eyes. 
She held her breath as her daughter spoke. Her young voice, so strong and distinct.

O Radiant Dawn
by Christine Rodgers

What could possibly come from this?
An infant just hours old on a bed of hay.
Why the jubilation? Because the angels
knew that straw
would one day blaze
in a crucible of love
transforming You
into the mighty
Alchemist - the One
who would buy back
the entire world.

In the brief hush that followed, Dawn found her mother’s face and smiled. She blew her a kiss just before the curtain closed, her wings fluttering as she turned.

Merry, Merry, Christmas
with so much love,

Danese XOXO

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