To Be Opened On Your 40th Birthday

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Dear Son,


By the time that you read this, you will be a man. Because I may not be present for your celebration, I wanted to send you my thoughts on this special consecration day. 


I’d always dreamed of this day, but it was so much different than I expected.


I’d dreamed of walking to the temple with my husband and handing over the lamb for my purification. But those were childish dreams, dreams of marrying a man of influence and position.


Instead I held you, our very own little lamb.


Everything has been radically different from all my expectations, my son.


An angel’s visit, first to me and then to your daddy. I call him your daddy, but how shall I ever explain to you what truly happened?


Even now, as I try to piece together the story, it really makes very little sense. Words can’t adequately express the realities of peeking behind the curtain at the unseen. Although it was less than a year ago when I welcomed the plan, I couldn’t understand then how doing so would upset so many.


As I look you, my baby boy, I find my eyes misting even now. I’ve had so many feelings over the course of the past year.


The fear of telling your daddy. The joy of telling your cousin, Elizabeth. The humiliation of your grandparents. The abandonment of my friends. The panic of an unexpected trip. The disappointment of our abode. The despair of the contractions. The gratefulness of your birth.


Women always recount their birth experience. The agony, the sweat, the weakness. It was all of this and more. The stench of the manger, the darkness of the night, the hay that stuck to us all. The glory. Yes, glory.


Being awakened by shepherds. Stumbling, stuttering, clumsily clamoring. Interrupting our silence with their news of angels, light and music.


What will our future hold? What will your life entail, my little one?


Today, the priest did his duty, but missed the mystery. What he saw with his eyes, he overlooked with his spirit, didn’t he, my son? He may have been a priest, but Simeon was the prophet.


“A light of revelation to the Gentiles,” Simeon had said. “Appointed for the rise and fall of many.”


And then as the priest sliced asunder the breast of the turtledove, Simeon turned to me and said, “a sword will pierce even your own soul.”


These words cut through my very heart, dear boy. I’m anxious and yet awed. Puzzled and yet petrified. Brave and yet bewildered.


But for my little lamb I’ll be strong. I will shield you. I will protect you. After all I am your mother.





“But there were standing by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother’s sister…when Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’. Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household” (John 19:25-27).