Whence comes this feeling in my belly?
Life there from the movements that I feel.
Can it be for me who once was empty?
There is no doubt, it moves, it’s real.
Larger and larger the swelling grows,
No more vision of my curly toes
And hope for deliverance delays its show.
Until with startling shocks of pain
To couch until the birth I go.
And longed for pain’s refrain
Comes home, again, again, again.
Now, now the babies come.
The first head soon appears.
He is anxious not to be outdone
And clamors forth in tears.
As the first head begins to crown
And painfully emerges.
I am full of fears within and cries without,
My face a wretched sweaty frown
Until his curly head I spy and shout
Manchild born! and panging pain dies down.
But cramps again with pangs of birth
When suddenly there appears
A second crown of hairs
A second son, unlike the first.
His hair fair, the other’s black.
Nor curly but straight as furrowed rows.
The second having escaped his sack
Delivered with no pain at all.
These two, these miracles from God.
Baby toes and fingers tiny.
Appear obedient to pain’s purging rod
Now mother ‘s face is shiny.
They grow, these boys in fertile soil.
One tills the ground his food to grow.
One kills his game for food to show.
Two brothers, one mother, unlike each other.
Double the joy with each reflection
God’s character in boy’s complexion.
Life giver, from earth and air and water.
Life taker, from beast, provider, hunter.
Life given and taken from boys,
They learn to act like men.
Contentment revealed in playful toys
And also blows from envy’s sin.
Mother scolds and father trains
Boys contend and chaos reigns
And envy raises his ugly head.
These twins engaged as rivals dread.
Babies are blessings and boys bless better.
But not all babies are blessings after.
Boys are blessings until they sin
And not all boys bless into men.
Some follow envy, strife and sin.
And even murder when sin is rooted
Growing envy ever deeper then,
Men walk in envy evil booted.
Two stories of blessing and also cursing.
Two boys contending, even nursing.
One nourished to faith, hope and love
One feeding on fear and envy and pain.
One gives only a simple shove
The other to death blows resorts again.
These brothers we know and name,
The second is Abel the first is Cain.
Their stories haunt us as well they should.
One was bad the other good.
In Christ the one was trusting
The other His grace withstood.
But better promises have we than they
For our children older and younger
In Christ’s Spirit thirst and hunger
And walk with Jesus day unto day.
Jesus redeems a brother’s brood.
Forgives and cleanses envious sin.
And as the greatest Elder Brother
Makes elder wicked brothers good.
Motherhood is before us.
Babies are our game.
But raising immortal souls will make us
Nevermore the same.
A mother’s love is not the only needed grace.
A father, too, to discipline
Boys who with downcast shameful face,
Convicted souls, confess and then
Bring forth works of repentance.
They turn from sin and take their place
That the one who would kill the other,
Will instead obey his mother.
And turn from sin’s accursed grip
To obey the law of father’s lip.
And bless his brother and his mother
And give him life instead of death.
For our children are Christ’s after
And to Him give their every breath.
For better is our Elder Brother
Than the older who killed the younger.
For Jesus is like no other
Nor rivals siblings in the womb.
His brotherhood by far is better
Returning life beyond the tomb.
He considers others than himself higher
Esteems them blessed while He forsaken
And gives them higher life the lower,
While His own life for them is taken.
And rather dies than kills
To show His blessed Father’s will.
To Him we look and learn the lesson
Sidelong looks of envy kill.
He is the greatest prized possession
And best of brother’s keepers still.
What hope we gain from this sad story
Of envy, pain and death?
To love the Lord of glory
And rest there upon His blessed breast.
Like John who loved Jesus deeply
Like brothers should who love like God.
But Jesus is the one who gave him
Life to love him back like God.
Love without envy, guilt or shame.
A love that sinful measures tame.
And life then in His Spirit
And joy and hope and love and grace.
For all that look upon their babies’ faces
See in that mirror the face of Jesus.
As Father looks to Son and sees
The perfect One by grace received.
So, we too, receive them still
By grace we hold them until
We give them back to Him with ease
And rest in God’s unending peace.