Use this imaginary account of Mary praying for her baby, Jesus, either as a reading or as a dramatic monologue in a service with someone dressed as Mary on a dimly lit stage holding a ‘baby’ by a straw filled manger. Based on Mary’s Prayer from “It Began in a Manger” by Max Lucado.
Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savour the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.
Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.
Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white – clutched tonight in an infant’s fist. They aren’t destined to hold a sceptre nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.
Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.
You will see our selfishness, for we struggle to give.
You will see our pain, for we struggle to heal.
You will see our sorrow for we are often hurting.
Sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.
And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.
Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?
Do you feel the cold sea water upon which you will walk?
Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?
Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.
And little heart … holy heart … pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?
You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.
You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.
You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.
And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.
Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.
And there you’ll rest again – this time in the embrace of your Father.