The Pastor Delivers a Box of Groceries on Christmas Eve

Small Old Camper

by Jessica Foster

Hail, darling, full of grace
Half grown, half girl, all of eighteen
That night I made pilgrimage to your trailer
Pale, sweaty, stringy blonde hair
Framing your sapphire eyes.
You hold up your belly, as if it just might
Collapse, you caress with one finger
In time with tiny kicks thumping below.

Hail, sweetheart, your fiancé’s
Cigarette smoke rising like incense!
You receive my offering with so much joy
It hurts me. Heart wincing, I touch your shoulder
Ask how you are, you reply in your country drawl
Not great but ain’t nothing my God can’t fix, and you are
Mary, my mother, my queen, with all the radiance of a
Magnificat! you praise better than I’ve ever preached:
Her name is Grace ’cause she came from God, and you each
Are my saving grace, who gave me more faith
Than all the sages and all the saints and all the aged dusty pages
Of theologians who knew far less than you, you, you.

And hail, honey, I go home demanding:
Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Jessica Foster
Jessica Foster is a recent graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a United Methodist pastor serving in small-town southern Missouri.



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