A Christmas Poem

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'Painting by Tim Okamura'
A painting by Tim Okamura.
A Black woman with an afro, halo, and crown holds a swaddled baby while sitting in a chair. Graffiti is behind her and on either side of her.
Butterflies fly around them.

I love this poem by Kaitlin Hardy Shetler, and I’d like to share it with you today.

A Real Scandal of the Birth of God (A Christmas Poem)
by Kaitlin Hardy Shetler

sometimes I wonder
if Mary breastfed Jesus.
if she cried out when he bit her
or if she sobbed when he would not latch.

and sometimes I wonder
if this is all too vulgar
to ask in a church
full of men
without milk stains on their shirts
or coconut oil on their breasts
preaching from pulpits off limits to the Mother of God.

but then i think of feeding Jesus,
birthing Jesus,
the expulsion of blood
and smell of sweat,
the salt of a mother’s tears
onto the soft head of the Salt of the Earth,
feeling lonely
and tired
hungry
annoyed
overwhelmed
loving

and i think,
if the vulgarity of birth is not
honestly preached
by men who carry power but not burden,
who carry privilege but not labor,
who carry authority but not submission,
then it should not be preached at all.

because the real scandal of the Birth of God
lies in the cracked nipples of a
14 year old
and not in the sermons of ministers
who say women
are too delicate
to lead.

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