The book of Luke in the Good Book starts with first one pretty miraculous story and then another.
Elizabeth and Zachariah are pretty old, and one day the angel Gabriel comes to Zachariah, a priest, in the temple and tells him that Elizabeth is going to have a baby boy. Zachariah thinks about this, his age and everything, and pretty much says, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you know how old we are?” Gabriel isn’t playing around, and he tells Zachariah that yes, it’s true, and just for not believing him, Zachariah will not be able to speak until after the baby’s birth.
Meanwhile, Zachariah finishes his assignment, goes home, Elizabeth becomes pregnant, and Zachariah can’t speak. In another town, Elizabeth’s cousin Mary is also visited by Gabriel. Apparently he’s a pretty intimidating angel, as he tells Mary not to be afraid just as he did Zachariah. He tells her about her pregnancy, how she’s been chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God. She is also struck by disbelief, but I guess Gabriel’s getting used to it, because he kindly answers her questions and then tells her that Elizabeth is six months pregnant. “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary doesn’t let grass grow under her feet. She takes off and heads straight to Zachariah’s house. When she arrives she is greeted by Elizabeth, whose baby in her womb leaps at the presence of Mary and her unborn child. Elizabeth somehow knows that Mary is the mother of her Lord and expresses her joy over Mary’s presence. Mary responds from her heart filled with joy and gratitude over being chosen by God. And then…..
What? I’m sorry. I’m flipping through the Good Book, thinking to myself, “Somebody has taken a page of ten from this book. What happened? Three months? Are you serious? Nothing?”
Nope, nothing. Not a word.
Now this. This is the story I want to read. Really, really. Two women, each expecting her own miracle, hanging out together in a home where the man of the house cannot speak. (No offense meant, guys.) Can’t you see them? They are the original awesome cousins and sister friends. Giddy with laughter while kneading bread on the smooth wooden surface. Quiet moments lost in their own thoughts as they sit in companionable silence while knitting or sewing or shelling peas. Cleaning the house together–“many hands make for light work.” Comparing pregnancy notes. Sympathizing over the aches and pains. Celebrating the little flutters and kicks. Whispering in hushed yet excited tones over how the world is about to change. Over the news that they know. And what they imagine it will be like. Patting Zachariah on the shoulder good-naturedly as he sighs and tries to enter the conversation with his hands, trying to get his thoughts across. Sitting together at the table sipping the soup and savoring the moments that would pass all too soon.
Three months. Two women. Each sharing her own form of the miracle of new life.
This. This is the Christmas story I want someone to write. Yes, I’m okay with a fictionalized version. I just know it would make for a great book–one that would cover all the gamut of emotions–joy, laughter, fear, worry, happiness, exhaustion, peacefulness, exhilaration, and anticipation. The strength of women, cousins, sisters, sharing a journey–one that would take the world and all of us to places we’ve never been. These two women who shared three months’ time together, intimately and comfortably, are about to give birth to boys who are going to change the lives of everyone forever.
That’s a tale of epic proportions, and yet, it is beautiful in its simplicity. The sharing of tasks, thoughts, time, and prayers. And affection. Love for one another, love for their unborn sons, and love for the God they seek to serve.
Yeah, that book would be placed at the top of my “to be read” stack. And I don’t think Mt. Washmore on my couch, waiting to be folded, or hungry mouths or lessons needing to be done could distract me from it. That’s a true story for the season.
(Anybody get wind of a version that I wasn’t aware of, please send me a link. You will make my day. 🙂 )
(Update on my daughter’s friend, Miss K, who is in critical condition in the hospital. She is still on the ventilator but it’s not set as high I believe, which is good. They think she has improved enough to take her off the full-time dialysis machine to the 4-hour one. She responded to her mother asking her if she was hot or if she wanted the air on. And she shook her head yes, that she was ready to get out of the bed. The doctors want to continue to keep her heavily sedated so her body won’t stress over anything. They want her body to focus on healing from the sepsis and the pneumonia. Her mother wrote: “For her Wesleyan sisters, have fun with your families and enjoy your holidays, she should be better and ready for you guys when you return…..that’s my own little prayer…” As it is ours, sweet Mama. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers for Miss K and her family. Their Christmas will be very different this year, and it makes me cry that she thought of her daughter’s friends and wished them well. Life is so precious and fragile, isn’t it? Love to all.)