great, with child


    I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’m one of those who wish the stores could wait just one more week before putting out the decorations and I’ve been thinking about Mary preparing herself to give birth, even though we aren’t quite done with the Pilgrims just yet. I think what set me to thinking about it was a note from my friend, Heather, saying her water had broken and she would be giving birth some time between now and tomorrow morning. Thinking of her also reminded me of why I like to read Luke 2 just the way Linus quoted it: from the King James version. No other version gives you language like this (trust me, I’ve looked):

    And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

    She was great with child. The words are full of illustration, animation, and metaphor. I love the image of this young, poor, humble, and pregnant girl being (read this in your best Tony the Tiger voice) grrreat, as though she was both things. You know: great, with child. She apparently must have been a pretty good mother, so as Jesus grew (in wisdom and stature), perhaps they said in a different way that she was great with (her) child. Of course, if someone feels the need to point out great has to do with girth, then some of us have to come to terms with being great without child, but that’s another post.

    The verses hold a companion phrase that also speaks to me: the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (I picture the translators in a room somewhere coming up with that phrase and saying to one another, “That’s smashing, old boy. Jolly good show.”)

    I’m captured by the verbs: accomplished and delivered.

    Even as I prepare to spend the weekend getting ready to feed those who will gather with us for Thanksgiving, and that this is one of those years when Advent doesn’t begin the Sunday after the turkey, I find the animals in the stable of my heart getting restless, waiting for the days to be accomplished, or whatever needs to be accomplished, so we can gather around the manger. Tonight, as I wait for word that Heather has welcomed her new son, I give thanks for them and for the KJV guys and Linus and all those who sweep the barn clean so the baby can be born and we can all be delivered.


    P.S. — There’s a new recipe.


    1. Thanks for another wonderful post. I’m also in love with the English language, so I really appreciated this. But … at least in the Lutheran/Catholic/Episcopal calendars, this year Advent DOES begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

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