An Isian Christmas

In the deep blue of the Egyptian night, a young woman flees from her place of imprisonment where she must spin, night and day, enclosed by the one who believes himself rightful king, who desires to break the will of the widow and take the throne-power her embrace confers. An elder wise man accompanies her, one of the few that believe the child she holds growing in her body is a Divine Son, not a concealed illegitimate offspring. Guiding her from place to place, he brings her at last to a rough enclosure built in the midst of the swamps of the Delta. She squats on birth bricks, she clutches knives to defend herself against the dangers, magical and physical, that must pursue her every moment, and with great difficulty, she brings forth Her Son Heru. The people of the fenlands protect her; they press food into her begging hands. Her wise protector, Thoth, cannot stay with her always, but he and other gods of wisdom approach her when they can.

Later, another mother is hardly luckier; she too wanders from place to place, she too has an older male protector who believes her child is no infant of deception but a divine gift to the world. Around them, it is shepherds who keep watch. Later the time will come for them to flee a different night of knives and blood, when the Opposer takes another kingly form.

Against one, Romans, soldiers, bureaucrats, the one and the same who oppressed so recently the last of the Queens of Egypt of whom one was the first; against one, the Court of Ra, where force, no matter how diabolical, and the promise of order is admired over the rightful claim of a boy king.

One flees north, to the Delta of Egypt; one flees West, to Egypt itself. Along their ways, villages, wells, trees - resting places, pauses, the more recent more remembered in name, but who is to say which mother or mother to be really dropped, exhausted, to earth at this spot or that? Which drank from that well, which rested in the shadow of that temple wall?

To both, a son who triumphs. To both, sons whose words and actions and deeds survive in fragments, revised by time and accident and political expediency. To both, sons who change the worlds they know. To both, sons who at moments deny or disparage even their own mothers. To both, an absent father and true mate, known only in shadowy spirit. To both, the craft of weaving in temple mills. To both, enduring images of a mother holding her child; and of a woman holding the body of her dead over her own.

And at this time of year, the same time of year, by some reckonings, the same day, chosen or decided or perhaps in real commemoration, in echo of the dance of the sun and moon and stars, they brought forth upon this earth a new dispensation. So much the same, yet are they the same? Yes, in the bringing forth of the Divine, one nature, indivisible, as varied as Nature and Creation itself. No, in a different time though nearly the same place, once again a divine gift to the world that waits always in need of the renewal of such blessings.

Those that follow either Boy, or revere either Mother to the exclusion of all else, they may dispute and argue. But I think, in the open horizon of sand and sky, in the spirit-filled nights that still fall in Egypt, that once in a while Two Ladies walking pass in the starry dark of the start of winter, and when they pass, they nod and smile slow soft smiles.

By whatever you hold sacred, may this season bring you great blessings and a rebirth of faith and hope and joy in your life.