Loving the world, divinity enfleshed

By Rev. Anna Blaedel

‘Tis the season, sweethearts, of so much more than we can possibly hold: a steady accumulation of sorrows that leave us splayed, and stunned. And we–exhausted, overwhelmed, and afraid–can become too adept at rending when we also, desperately, need to repair, recreate, and mend.

Perhaps it is merely an antiquated story, this compiled account of angels and shepherds and flocks huddling under the cover of night; of strange visitors arriving from elsewhere and otherwise, bearing gifts of frankincense, gold, and the precious resin collected from wounded commiphora myrrha trees.

This story keeps company with other, even older kin, so many festivals rebalancing seasons and rhythms–marking holy days and holy times of sacred darkness and enlivening light. Harvest and dormancy. The courageous trust required for laboring with what is, while midwifing what could yet come alive within and through us.

The morals of this story, the invitations of incarnation: it is a perilous practice, wildly loving the world. Love is a fierce and tender force that mends the connective tissue of our collective, enfleshed life. We, too, are anointed for these apocalyptic times.

I haven’t a clue what Mary did or did not know, but women are daily doing the impossible, midwifing courage. And even in this era, when anything can be weaponized to imperil flesh, imagination, and dream, look, there: Christ Child and Mother of God, both: the sassy trans girlchild welcomed into sisterhood, and onto soccer teams; that precious little darling coaxing kaleidoscopic possibilities from a binary, declaring themself “a they;” a sweetheart of a boychild learning to feel his feelings and soften into them.

This story, incarnation: bearing witness to god-with-us, divinity dwelling in our flesh, in all flesh, all of us, becoming divine, magnificent magnificats of disruption, redistribution, and revolutionary love.

(There is nothing antiquated about gleaning guidance from ancient stories and even older stars.)

So if, by any chance, joy is flowing through you–honestly and with ease–then blessed be and thanks be, because joy deepens through its sharing, and we’re going to need to share every bit of magic, every offering of creative wisdom and wit and weary wonder we can spark and kindle and keep aflame.

And, too, if sadness is sundering you, and everything is falling apart too fast and too soon, and despair is attempting the final word, remember: we are still writing this story, we are living this story, yet.

Anna Blaedel (they/them) is cofounder and co-director enfleshed, where they tend to the theopoetic intersections of spiritual, academic, and activist engagement. Anna chaplains University of Iowa students, and is a doctoral candidate in Theological and Philosophical Studies at Drew University’s Graduate Division on Religion. Waking before dawn, lingering in poetry, being an aunt, retreating to the woods or their basement woodshop, tending the garden, sharing silence, and feeding people delicious food are some of Anna’s favorite things.

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