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Practices for the 12 Days of Christmas

My newest column is available at Patheos:

What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be Mothers of God. —Meister Eckhart (15th century German mystic)

Advent immerses us in themes of darkness, waiting, attending, anticipation, and holy birthing.  When we arrive at Christmas, do we celebrate the ways we are giving birth to God in our lives?  The Feast of Christmas honors God becoming enfleshed in the midst of life’s ordinary messiness.  Birthing is a creative process, something new emerges from months of incubation and gestation.

The great poet Rainer Maria Rilke writes: “In my ripening ripens what you are.”  He is speaking to God.  I think of ripening as another metaphor for birthing.  We have within us visions and dreams for what brings us deep joy and peace.  We nurture these and cultivate their growth.  We wait for the moment of ripeness.  Rilke uses the image of “ripening” or “unfolding” again and again to describe God’s need for human beings – and especially their creativity – to allow God to come more fully into being.  Our consent to divine creativity, just as Mary said yes, allows this ripening to burst forth freely into the world.

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