pray peace

peace does not always come in the shape of a baby

in a season that abounds with fertile miracles
pray peace for those for whom every breathless, wondrous mention
of babies born
will bring only unspeakable pain.

pray peace for the Elizabeths who will not get pregnant,
for whom no miracle will occur, at any age
who know themselves only as cursed.

pray peace for the Marys who are pregnant and who do not want to be
for whom every movement inside is a reminder of fear and despair.

pray peace for the Marys whose partners say ‘no’.

pray peace for the Rachels whose babies have died
and whose cries will go unheard
in the clamour of christmas bells and carols.

and pray peace for the unnamed women
whose stories are not spoken out loud in the bible
the women who ended pregnancies
the women who miscarried
the women who will never have the chance to have children

pray peace for the women for whom this Christmas story is only a reminder
of the inadequacy
and failure,
the grief
and the guilt,
they feel every month.

peace does not always come in the shape of a baby.


  1. Janet Teska Veum


    Judy Redmann shared this prayer with our e-mail list. I was moved to tears. You have a gift for touching vulnerable people in a wonderful, healing way. It’s so powerful for women who are silent to hear the voice of compassion and understanding. Thank you so much for writing a prayer that will touch and heal many people.

    Janet Teska Veum
    Appleton, Wisconsin

  2. Rob


    This is an incredibly powerful and Godly peace of writing.
    Thankyou for sharing this

  3. Beautiful Cheryl.

    Maybe a quick footnote for the men who remain childless as well.

    Christmas is so strongly associated with family; I get really sick of the fundamentalists definition of the word… so limiting.

  4. Michelle

    Cheryl, thanks for sharing this and all the other advent reflections you’ve posted so far. You mix reality and hope so well in your writing.

  5. Yes, peace does not always come in the shape of a baby, & perfection is not always obvious. Take the mother of a young man who died having carried a debilitating disease throughout his 9 short years. Even though his body was tortured & struggled just to brief, In her eyes, she saw only her perfect beautiful little boy; she said so at his funeral as well as “You were never a burden”!
    Peace blessings & grace of the season

  6. Struggled just to brief, should be “Struggled just to breathe”. I gotta get some rest, or some new glasses (or both!!)

  7. Cheryl, there is a young woman in the arts and faith collective I belong to that wrote a poem, ” waiting for peace.” She seems to weave her words in to same complex tapestry of a peace beyond us. Anyways, your words are deeply stirring as we wait in the mysterious season of Advent. Thankyou.

  8. ben bell

    every advent i come back to this and rediscover that special healing quality that it contained within these words.
    thank you again

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