Clouds heavy with snow hang over the city,
not yet ready to release wonder.
An occasional perfect snowflake escapes, and is suspended
between sky and earth.
It floats at the whim of a gust of wind,
and dissolves into thin, cold air before it reaches the ground.
We are gathered in a small house
on a street shadowed with old branches.
Trees silhouetted against a gray sky stand along both sides of the road
forming a tunnel of sorts, leading to the centre.
Inside, we prepare for the coming.
In ancient and timeless woman ritual, we cleanse.
We dress the birth bed and set out linens for swaddling.
We simmer fragrant broth and brew tea scented with lemon and honey.
We gather in warmth and recount the ancient myths
of gods born to virgins and carpenters,
of heaven and earth coalescing into divinity,
of the joy that this child will bring to the world.
The slow motion time of this advent cocoons us.
We wait in expectancy and excitement as the time nears and the pain begins.
We hold her close and whisper words of support.
A small boy rubs her ankles and knees, and declares his love.
His father paces and worries, cajoles and encourages, feeds and braces.
Eternal rhythms surge and wane until at last, in a midnight clear and cold,
another life begins.
Silent night, holy night.
No angels or shepherds herald this birth on a night
in early December,
but the divine within is pleased.
A girl child is born.
The world is transformed.