Advent Devotion 12

What the Wise Men Forgot

By Quinn Chipley


Luke 1:41-42And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” 


I was a conservative child with a stubborn aesthetic. When the Sears Christmas catalog came, I was struck more starry-eyed over the lights and ornaments than by the toys and candy. The Christmas colors in my palette matched a fantasy shaped by Alps and fjords:  Spruce greens, holly-berry reds, midnight blues, and snowy whites.  I dismissed the faux boxwood wreaths -- stuck with the travesties of lemons, oranges, and grapes -- as the peculiar error of miscreants. These Della Robbia dalliances kept too-close-company with that lady who floats with her infant in a vaporous shell of robin-egg blue. Some folks just cannot keep Christmas and Easter crayons properly apart.


But here it is in Luke. “Blessed is the fruit.” Fruit must ripen. It cannot be rushed. I too can grow.



                                                “All this was a long time ago, I remember,

                                                And I would do it again, but set down

                                                This set down

                                                This.” --- T.S. Eliot, The Journey of the Magi


What the Wise Men Forgot


After all that taxing travel, for her

to find no inn at the end of the trail

in labor, left-hand kneading doughy ankles,

the right cupping a spine skewered on pain,


she surely must have welcomed that last turn

of her travail,  now matured in spasm

strong enough to expel a mewling head

amid indifferent asses and manure,


a place where blood and afterbirth clot straw

and dirt to taunt her magnificent plot:

fierce song of toppled thrones, the hungry fed,

the poor avenged, comeuppance for the rich.

“Later for all that,” she thought. “Words must wait

for my flesh to heal and for his to grow.”  Amen.