christmas

After Birth

Of a new creation. Where one was built and spoken. Delivered after the one that already was. The afterbirth is not born alive. It is what previously sustained life. Before. Not for its own life. But after the birth. What must be born, what must be expelled, what must touch air without life. Without even the hope of life. Because its purpose was to die. 

After birth. Not a brother or a sister, not breath cruelly taken. Not a twin or a promise. After. Birth. Born. Expected. Anticipated. Bloody dead. Expired. At the life of another. Lifeless, for the life of another. The only purpose in its existence is to give life to another. After the birth. 

Descending from the same womb. Sharing the same food That produced the first life. It was part of her. For the sake of her. And now it is only her. And the afterbirth. Fell out on the floor.

Can you have a birth. Without what is after. A necessary sacrifice. A necessary reality. A necessary story. After what was born.

Journey to the mountain. After the birth. After the life. After the death. After the revelation. How many days? Did we go to the mountain. Expecting the new world to reign down. The new world revealed. The new world, recreated, and manifest. Expecting. That death should turn into life, just as He said.

How many days? Did we go to the mountain. With such presumption, unwavering hope. At a time when a new story was thrust upon us, How many days did we look for the new life, and it appeared as a curated lie. Or a far-off fairytale. Or a truth. That we would not see in our lifetime. And how can you tell the difference. 

How many days. Did we return to the stable. To look at the historical place where the Son of David once lay. How many days. Do we return to the feeling of fire and cocoa and family and presents. How many days, until we have to admit. That the days are over. We are after.

After birth. After death. After hope. After. It is not any better. After all of that. 

How many days. Did we remember the story of Jospeh. Forgotten father of a poor little boy. How many days did we wait for his mother Mary. To reflect her spotless son. How many days did we wait for this son of a carpenter to do something amazing After birth. After the build up. Just to remember. This promised One was born like everyone else. 

How many days. Can we keep this all going. Forgotten stories of good and faithful paths. How many days. Can I keep them all satisfied. Purpose and focus. How many days. After the emerging nativity of a faith secure. How many days can I pretend it still comforts.

The afterbirth.

How many times. Did we expect it to be any different. Traveling up the mountain. Worshipping at the manger. Sacrificing for the better. Pilgrimage to the holy prayers. How many times Needing, wanting, the afterbirth to come to life. Yet it lays still.

Can I wait. In the unfulfilled mess of the after. Can I wait. In sadness that is sure born after joy. Can I wait. In dead flesh that’s preaching mortality. Can I wait. When I now expect life has already gone before. Can I wait. In this life that is choked out in death. Can I.

How many days. Do I repeat the words that have gone before. How many days do I ignore the present whispers and yearn for something unseen. Can I wait. Oh Lord. How long. Must you make me feed on the after birth, and hope.

And now I wonder. When will it be. What hour, what day, what point. What disappointment, what gift, what sentence. Will my hope sting with sorrow. Will the anticipation savor regret. What point. Does the future make the now taste dead.

And what if. I can’t. Wait. What if. It’s too long. What if I need something. Today. What if those promises are failures. And what if they were never true to begin with. Would the after birth voice his eternal wisdom. And how would I know. How do I trust. How could a dead afterbirth possibly give me hope. Today. 

After the birth. When did I stop looking for the infant. When did I stop looking for the man. When did I stop looking for the life. When did I stop looking to the future. And how long have I been satisfied with what is already dead. When did I stop returning. When did I stop listening. When did I stop praying. How long has it been, that I wasn’t expecting. Anymore. Not sure. If this is the truth. If this is a lie. If this is a hope. If this is a hoax. When did I stop. Because I couldn’t wait. 

What comes after. The high. The life. It is the after. The after birth of hope. The day after excitement. The time after joy. The life that should have been but has not been. And birthed to be dead. What was once essential. To life. The sacrifice. That must be born. After the birth. The blood that pulsed before anyone knew, the tissue that is meant for nothing when revealed. 

But what comes after.

When the dead lives. When the afterbirth finally comes to life. Against every definition of what should happen. It comes to life, after. It is already dead. After. It has been fed on by those who must live. After. Yet, when the dead lives, it is no longer a wait. It is no longer a how long cry. It is a new life. It is a resurrected breath and body. It is a resurrected purpose. And, can I wait. Now.

When the dead lives. Can I wait. Now. When the mountain is silent. Can I wait. When the stable goes black and the baby grows to die. Can I wait. When the mother and the father are the infantile sinners. Generation after generation. Can I wait. When I don’t see the meaning. When I can’t feel the purpose. Can I wait. In the bloody after birth. When I know. The after birth is only quiet for a moment. And then it breathes. 

How long, Oh lord. How many more days. Can I wait.

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