Wood burner in hand, I watch their eyes emerge…their pupils burned into place. I wonder what have these eyes seen?
Mary has seen the brutality of the Romans, the fear of her people, the painful look of longing in her aunt Elizabeth’s eyes through years of disappointment, hoping for a child. Mary beheld the wild wonder of the angel Gabriel saying, “the LORD is with you!” She saw the incredulity, doubt and judgement shadow the eyes of other as they watched her young belly grow. She saw the God of the universe vulnerably breathe a shuttering infant breath.
I trace the lines of Joseph’s eyes, burn the pupil into place. Joseph, this man who said yes to marrying a woman pregnant with a child not his own. This man sheltered her, protected her, married her in name, but not in body. This man saw in dreams, and had the faith to act on the directions given within them. All to protect this child who disrupted his honeymoon hopes of holding a firstborn child with eyes like his own.
Who emerges on either side of this couple whose hospitality shaped their lives?
On the one hand I see the eyes of the shepherd, a man accustomed to grass and grime to shaggy sheep, collecting brambles in their wool. The shepherd whose eyes crown a custom to peering through darkness on the watch for danger does shepherd, his eyes dazzled, with the singing shining messengers from heaven.
There on the other side are the eyes of the heavenly messenger- eyes where we expect them, but also eyes covering three sets of wings… eyes, eyes, more eyes. Surely this is a Messenger from the God, who sees.
This God who now sees, peering through newborn eyes. The God who sees—excepting the limitations of humanness. The God who sees, looking out at the world He made but only clearly seeing two feet in front of him, into the eyes of his mother. He eyes echoing the ache of the world that he came heal.