Advent Hands by Catherine Alder
I see the hands of Joseph.
Back and forth along bare wood they move.
There is worry in those working hands,
sorting out confusing thoughts with every stroke.
“How can this be, my beautiful Mary now with child?”
Rough with deep splinters, these hands,
small, painful splinters like tiny crosses
embedded deeply in this choice to stay with her.
He could have closed his hands to her,
said, “No” and let her go to stoning.
But, dear Joseph opened both his heart and hands
to this mother and her child.
Preparing in these days before,
with working hands
and wood pressed tight between them.
It is these rough hands that will open
and be the first to hold the Child.
Redemptive Educators, can we open both our hearts and our hands to the children God brings to us this day?
As we prepare so many things in these weeks before Christmas, can our “working hands” be willing to bear the weight of each busy hour? Can we stay present, attentive, quiet in heart, generous in grace to mothers, fathers, children, colleagues, supervisors? Can we embrace “small, painful splinters like tiny crosses embedded deeply in this choice to stay”?
Can we open and receive the gift of the Incarnation as manifested in the young souls with whom we journey? Can we be willing to “hold” each one?