Advent Poetry: A Mother’s Prayer

A Mother’s Prayer

The prophecy once told of old
of lamb and lion, of calf and foal
all sitting down together bold
and a little child will lead them.

My God, my mother, my father
don’t understand how this gift
can burden a common woman
like me, I shudder in recalling:

the angel mighty, a rush of words
frame his wings, the impossibility
of this scene, and for a moment
I am terrified and troubled to hear

how lo, he comes bringing great
news that I will bear a baby
before I’m wed. He calls the son
of God upon me like a decree-

I carry the secret inside of me
and my betrothed has not left
me to the wolves, the stones
the hecklers and jesters, no,

I am the Lord’s servant, may
it be to me as the angel said
that nine months of waiting
for a child to be born, may

find my soul magnifying
the Lord, for I, a humble
woman take up His yoke,
take on His flesh and call

it my own. We pray and pray
for strength to find us, that our
Maker hears our pleas, please
bring us justice, bring us peace

We weary the waiting, we wonder
the coming of messiah to take on
our cause and bind foe to friend,
make lion lay down with the lamb.

We watch and see that the Lord
is good and keeps His promises
as understood, the prophecy to see
that my little child will lead them.



I can’t sleep at night, Lord,
how the thoughts roil even
as the baby kicks. Instead
my body ghosts the wee hours
pacing  and dwelling on what
is to come. But what is now:
my body swells with your son.

I try to understand this mystery
even as I accept it for my own.
Who will my son be? Will he hover
in temples like the religious men
so ready with their answers?
Perhaps he will work with wood,
fashioning tables for families to eat

at as they gather, and take the trade
of the man he may call father- but
will he call him Father? Will my little
Jesus know what is to come? Surely
the Lord knows how my blessing
will bless all peoples.  And who will
I be to him? How can I keep him safe?

What happens when he crosses over
from being my boy to a man? I ponder
the sacred mystery in my heart and will
myself to go back to bed, to close my eyes
and ask your fullness and mercy to stay
close to me, a simple woman who prays
for God to be with us, even as He is in me.


© Annelies Zijderveld. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or post without attribution. I wrote this poem for City Church San Francisco, as part of their Advent sermon series on the Mothers of Jesus.  

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