What I won't forget is the way that it presented the huge cost to Mary, who was prepared to lose everything, and the tortured anguish that Joseph experienced. I thought that the casting of the particular woman to be with Mary through the birth was a touch of brilliance, and the instant when Joseph's hand clasped Mary's as the stars coalesced and the baby was born brought out the tissues!
During the season of Advent I've been especially struck by poems about the Annunciation. From the tradition of which I've been a part, Mary has been someone largely ignored. Over the last few years, through art especially, I've come to a new appreciation of this remarkable woman, which was only enriched by The Nativity.
I've been reminded of Noel Rowe's Magnificat, and yesterday I read again some of Luci Shaw's wonderful poems in, Accompanied by Angels, Poems of the Incarnation. On the first Sunday of Advent, at the Advent Carol Service at Christ the Cornerstone, we heard Edwin Muir's poem, The Annunciation:
The angel and the girl are met,
Earth was the only meeting place,
For the embodied never yet
Travelled beyond the shore of space.
The eternal spirits in freedom go.
See, they have come together, see,
While the destroying minutes flow,
Each reflects the other's face
Till heaven in hers and earth in his
Shine steady there. He's come to her
From far beyond the farthest star,
Feathered through time.
Immediacy of strangest strangeness is the bliss
That from their limbs all movement takes.
Yet the increasing rapture brings
So great a wonder that it makes
Each feather tremble on his wings.
Outside the window footsteps fall
Into the ordinary day
And with the sun along the wall
Pursue their unreturning way
That was ordained in eternity.
Sound's perpetual roundabout
Rolls its numbered octaves out
And hoarsely grinds its battered tune.
But through the endless afternoon
These neither speak nor movement make,
But stare into their deepening trance
As if their gaze would never break.