Had I been Joseph’s mother
I’d have prayed
protection from his brothers:
“God keep him safe;
he is so young,
so different from
the others.”
Mercifully she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses’ mother
I’d have wept
to keep my little son;
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile,
had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while?
Was he not mine
and she
but Pharaoh’s daughter?…

Had I been Mary –
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
“…Anything, O God,
anything…
but crucified!”
With such prayers
importunate
my finite wisdom
would assail
Infinite Wisdom;
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail!

This poem is from Ruth Bell Graham’s “Collected Poems.” It’s also available in This Christmas Night: Reflections from Our Hearts to Your Home.

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