When will justice come to us, my unborn babe… the Earth cries out, the very olive trees are weeping from the violence, the injustice, the apathy. The fig trees are too brokenhearted to bear fruit, from the oppression, the division, the hatred. The vines droop and wither from the greed, the want and hunger, the grief and despair.
My child, my child, my firstborn beloved… I hate to say this, but part of me cannot but hope you will be a boy. Oh, if you are a daughter, I will love you just as much, of course, and teach you everything I know, but my little one, I tried so hard to help our people – to tell them the good news, the Word of Emmanuel, how Divine Love is within us, is born in us, is calling us to birth a new reign of justice and peace, in which the mighty are cast down from their thrones, and the lowly are lifted up… the hungry are filled, and the rich are sent empty away.
But no one would listen to me, a young woman. “You are too loud,” they said, “too bossy. Why do you persist in disturbing us? You need a man to keep you in your place.”
If you are a son, my beloved one, perhaps they will listen to you.
I will teach you about animals, my little love. Even when no people welcome you, when they close their doors and their hearts, the creatures of our Earth will make room for you to join them in balance and harmony. They will give you food from their own mangers and a warm bed in their midst. I will teach you to show our people how to appreciate and bless all the creatures of Earth as holy and precious members of our kindred family, and to protect them.
I will teach you about outcasts, my child – such as shepherds, the poor, scorned, workers who do the jobs no one else wants – I will show you how to welcome and honor outcasts and help them see that they are important – they are messengers of the Holy One, and they will bring us Divine Truth about the presence of the Holy here among us.
I will teach you about the old prophets, and how from ancient stumps, new shoots can spring. Our ancient traditions may seem outdated and confusing, but they are rich with the wisdom of generations who learned from their mistakes and kept trying. I will teach you to love our scriptures as precious windows into what it means to be a beautiful, messy, flawed, glorious human in community.
My beloved child, I will teach you how Divine Wisdom can come from other cultures, far away lands with foreign religions and different customs, with wise women and men who find bright stars of wisdom to guide us through murky nights, whose friendship is a gift – more precious than gold, more sacred than incense, more healing than myrrh.
I will teach you to listen to women, to respect women as equals and include them at your table, to lift them up – Jewish women, Samaritan women, even Roman girls… my darling child, you will love them all and invite them all into the reign of Love.
Oh, my child, my precious one… the time is near when I will first hold you and see your face looking up at mine. I will give you my whole heart, and do my best to protect you from this dangerous world… and maybe, with the guidance and strength of the Holy One and all our ancestors, we can save our people. That is what I will name you, if you are a boy… Savior. Jesus. You will bring Joy to the world. You will bring Peace on Earth, good will to all.
You will come to us tonight, my precious one, I can feel you beginning to arrive. And I can hear heaven and nature sing, I can feel the fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy!
My precious baby Jesus, all the faithful will come to the light of your star, the brilliant, radiant beams of your Holy Grace, as you preach tidings of comfort and joy, of good news to the poor, release for the captives! Gloria, my beloved! O night divine! Gloria!!
Trelawney Grenfell-Muir teaches courses about Sex, Dating, Marriage, and Work in the Religion and Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College and about Cross Cultural Conflict in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A Senior Discussant at the Religion and the Practices of Peace Initiative at Harvard University, she holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. Previously a fellow at the Institute of Culture, Religion, and World Affairs and at the Earhart Foundation, Grenfell-Muir has conducted field research in situations of ongoing conflict in Syria, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland. Her dissertation explores the methodology, constraints, and effectiveness of clergy peacebuilders in Northern Ireland. She has been an invited speaker in community settings and at MIT, Boston University, Tufts, and Boston College on topics of gender violence, economic injustice, and religious or ethnic conflicts and has also moderated panels on genetic engineering, cloning, and other bioethics issues. She currently writes articles, book chapters, and liturgical resources about feminist, nature-based Christianity.