Bounce on the Donkey

by Tom Wolpert on December 12, 2022

I didn’t send an angel to make an astonishing announcement.
Didn’t overshadow myself with the Holy Spirit.
Didn’t convince my betrothed I wasn’t unfaithful.
An angel did that, in a dream.
I just bounce along on the donkey.

I didn’t issue an edict that all the world should appear for a census.
Caesar August did that. Quirinius obeyed – governor now.
Didn’t order that we should all go to our hometown to register.
Came to register with Joseph, to our hometown.
My whole job – bounce along on the donkey.

I don’t know where we’re going to stay.
Joseph doesn’t look too happy about our prospects.
There’s not much I can do.
Didn’t make myself Jewish.  Or even a young woman.
All I do is manage the labor pains – and bounce on the donkey.

Didn’t issue promises to Abraham, or rescue Isaac or wrestle
an angel with Jacob. Didn’t meet God in the desert like Moses.
The promises made were passed on to me; didn’t hear them for myself.
Took them to heart, I heard and believed.  My receiving
but not my doing. What I do is bounce along on the donkey.

Wasn’t there when Isaiah counseled Hezekiah about the Assyrians.
Wasn’t there when the Babylonians took us off to exile. Daniel had
visions about the Son of Man. When we came back from exile, didn’t
rebuild Jerusalem. Alexander conquered the world and spread the Greek
language, Greek ideas across vast miles. I bounce one step at a time.

The Romans came and built roads, crushed enemies.  Including us. They
instituted laws, harsh, efficient to impose them. They conquered peoples,
created vassal states, imposed the Pax Romana. At least we can travel
the roads safely.  Didn’t do any of that. There was rebellion against Rome
and bloodshed.  Wasn’t there. My job is to be pregnant riding on a donkey.

Perhaps when this child is born, I’ll sing a song. Perhaps when this child is born
we will be delivered out of the hands of the Romans. The angel made some
extravagant promises.  I haven’t forgotten one. But now my sole duty and
only job, the one thing to do for this kicking son, for Joseph – for us and
for the Jews – for the whole world, is to bounce carefully on this donkey.

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