God Among Us: Space for the Uncontained God

annunciation
The Annunciation by Henry Owassa Tanner (Philadelphia Art Museum)

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary…”
Luke 1: 28-30, 38

 

Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine forth.
Rejoice, O Star revealing the Sun.
Rejoice, O Womb of divine Incarnation.
Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed.
Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is born a Babe.

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’
from Akathistos Hymn, translated from Greek

…to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.

Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.
~Denise Levertov from “Annunciation”

______________________

The uncontained contained
the infinite made finite
the Deliverer delivered
the Eternal here and now.
_________________________

The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow
His eyes as flame
“All hail” said he “thou lowly maiden Mary
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria, Gloria

“For known a blessed mother thou shalt be
All generations laud and honor thee
Thy Son shall be Emanuel
By seers foretold
Most highly favored maid,” Gloria, Gloria

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name.”
Most highly favored lady, Gloria, Gloria
~Lyrics “Gabriel’s Message” 

 

Annunciation --James Tissot
Annunciation –James Tissot

How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How do you measure the love of a mother
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Silent night, holy night, all is calm and all is bright
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Silent night, holy night, all is calm and all is bright
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Silent night, holy night, all is calm and all is bright
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

 

 

2 thoughts on “God Among Us: Space for the Uncontained God

  1. The Eternal YES! Tissot’s painting says it all.
    Thank you, Emily, for the beauty you have provided my soul this day.

    Like

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