And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord”…
The Incarnation allows us to see and hear and touch what we could only glimpse before in a pillar of smoke, a tabernacle, a burning bush, a still small voice. God becomes magnified in the manger with unmistakable clarity and focus. He is rocked and fed, picked up when He falls, comforted when He cries, guided and taught and loved.
What was once remote from us is now up close, magnified like a setting moon becoming huge on the horizon at dawn. He has settled among us. He has become us.
“These still December mornings…
Outside everything’s tinted rose, grape, turquoise,
silver–the stones by the path, the skin of the sun
on the pond ice, at the night the aureola of
a pregnant moon, like me, iridescent,
almost full term with light.”
Luci Shaw in “Advent Visitation”
“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.