Eyes closed in prayer, Mary felt her attention drawn to the little one at her center, barely a bump and already a marvel. An impossibility. The gift of an angel’s word, a Creator’s promise. God with us.
Quiet in the dark of the room overlooking Elizabeth and Zacharias’s courtyard, Mary sat against the wall, absorbing the dark, heart focused on the light.
In the deep silence, she felt the tiniest twitch.
Opening her eyes, she smiled, silencing her laugh before she could awaken Elizabeth.
There it was again, a movement just above her hips, barely perceived and yet undeniable.
Hi there, baby, she thought. We’ve waited so long for you.
For a moment she imagined what it must be like, being knit in the womb like a garment in God’s hands, except this little one would be called the Son of God — so said the angel. God making God — what a thought.
Even more: because if the little one was God, then this little one contained the heavens and the earth. But he himself was contained in the center of her.
How did you do that? she prayed to God. I’m so little. That’s like putting all the world’s wine into one wineskin.
Even as she prayed the question, she felt her attention drawn to something wilder: that she herself was something created, and therefore she was included within the little one who was within her.
Now you’re just showing off, she prayed, and maybe God laughed. Mary laughed too.
In the next moment, she had a sense of herself as a glass lamp, the kind the Greeks used, dark, the oil ready but the wick not lit. Then the wick quickened into a flame. The glass of the lamp lifted up the light with its facets and amplified it, beating back the darkness like a king at the head of his army, defending his borders against the invaders.
Mary’s heart trained on that flame, on the spirit of God. Oh, wow. My soul really does magnify the Lord.
That flame the size of a fingertip. The anticipation of a dark lamp. That ferocious, protective light.
When she collected herself again to pray, her body ached after all the little tasks she’d taken over for Elizabeth so her cousin could rest even though Mary’s own nausea and fatigue overwhelmed her at times. Lay us down, Lord Our God, in peace, she prayed, stretching out on her bed. And raise us up, our King, to life.
Inside again, that twitch, so subtle she’d never have felt it if she weren’t paying attention. Again her smile, a hand to her abdomen. Keep over us the shelter of your peace, she prayed, treasuring that sweet secret movement in her heart because before too much longer, everyone would know it. The shelter of your peace…
Her eyes closed, and the last words she prayed before falling asleep were, …your peace.