Dear Sor Juana,
Holding a newborn in my arms this week reminded me of the first time I did this as a new Mum, the smell of the soft skin and the sheer amazement that a little person – like every other creature on earth – had been born. This one created from love. There really can’t be enough love in the world.
The vulnerability and innocence of a child is breathtaking and it is no wonder that your God chose incarnation in this way to send the strongest of messages of what it means to trust. Each nativity scene in homes and hospitals around the world brings to birth not just a child, but the entire universal story and all of creation rejoices. You found a silversmith to make a nativity scene to give to your beloved benefactor by way of emulating her childbirth to the one in Bethlehem – every birth is divine and there is no mistaking its provenance.
The journey to birth isn’t always easy, for some it is long awaited, medically assisted; for others accidental and surprising. However the journey is made the child comes to greet us and tell us the story of trust and for me that is Divine Inspiration.
In my moments of uncertainty and anxiety I could do well to be like the babe in arms and trust in the Universe to provide and meet all my needs. Perhaps this is what is meant in the scriptures you loved so to “be like a child”? To be held by a loving parent, friend or family member, even a stranger is comforting. No words are needed, just gentle arms holding so I can take a breath, leaning into for respite and just to be. The everyday transactions of being held and to hold are nativity moments for the pilgrim to rest before taking another step on the same journey that started by being held.
I loved seeing the original of this painting in Florence joining my gaze with the mesmerising eyes of the children.