advent hearts for mothers

King of Kings, Most Holy One
God the son, eternal one
You are my God and helpless son
High ruler of mankind

—”Christ Child’s Lullaby (Tàladh Chriosda), as sung by Kathy Mattea

It’s Day Four: After Finals. I (we!) have retrieved a child, traipsed to the hinterlands for the right kind of biscuit flour, gotten lights onto the Christmas tree, made two batches of holiday cookies plus one beautiful batch of biscuits ($4/biscuit-people, I’m looking at you), watched Love Actually for the first time.

As I chip away at today — there’s so much hanging fire that I need to keep rolling even though my brain has semester-hangover — I’m listening to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s A Traditional Christmas, now evidently out of print.

As Kathy Mattea and ensemble weave their way through the alleluias, tears well and pour down my face. There’s something about the tune and harmonies (ancestral ties? seems overly convenient yet…?)

and even more there’s something about having parented a tiny human

that swells through this description of Incarnation and bursts my heart every season, every time.

I am not sentimental about my formerly tiny potatoes (one now broadcasting a podcast across the house to bribe herself into finishing her laundry… it’s really hard to be sentimental while the spillover challenges my concentration),

but sentimental folk are not wrong about the rending a child creates in one’s self-fabric. I know about an infant, about starting a new life, about the breathlessness with little time to consider the awe.

And I’m aware of the divine.

To hold both in my heart at once?


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