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(A) Merry Christmas (image)

December 25, 2015

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m a taoist that I’m so moved by the image of the newborn, wrapped in cloths to keep it warm, asleep in the straw among goats, donkeys, and cows. For a combination of the fragility and strength that comes with a new life, it’s hard to get a more powerful, more existential and archetypal, image.

It’s been eight years or so since the last time I felt the strong, taut skin of a pregnant belly, and I might never be fortunate enough to have that experience again, but it stays with me vividly for the magic of its transfer of life. (Better than those fingertips on the ceiling.) The image of the moment of the birthing to come is also very powerful, perhaps too powerful for a male-dominant culture to embrace. So much hangs in the balance.

Then there’s the image of the infant at the mother’s breast, but our culture still insists on keeping that image hidden from sight (that in itself, a powerful image of male dominance). So we get instead the cleansed image of the madonna and child, with its clear message of the Father’s powerful enlivening and protective power.

But for me, today celebrates the successful birth, under trying circumstances, accomplished by the mother, attended (given loving attention to) by the father, of hope of a compassionate future; and in the story that swaddles the image, there’s even a dream of wise old men coming to pay homage.

Maybe even to share the love?

[Some thoughts on what I mean in this novel by “image.”]

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