By the time the angel visited Mary,
the magi had been walking,
for a long, long time,
sometimes bruising their testicles
on bony camels,
mostly wondering why on earth
they were following a star.
Journeys always begin
a long time before anyone knows
they are going to matter.
Someone taught first grade
for a decade before being the one
to make a safe space, an accepting place
for the transgender child,
who is not going to grow up
and die by suicide.
Someone squeezed through Spanish
in high school just to graduate,
traveling to the Texas border
to become the face of love
for one family,
and a second one, and a third.
Someone learned to bake bread
that becomes communion,
or painted a yellow crocus
that hangs in a funeral parlor where
people need to believe
that something planted in the ground
can rise up small but beautiful,
or made coffee in a truck stop
for half a lifetime,
never knowing a cup wakes up a driver
just before the rig crosses the line.
we talk about the magi being last
to arrive at the birth of the savior —
but they were the first to begin,
just like ordinary wise ones,
bringing their gifts all around us.
What happened in Mary
was surely a long, long journey, too.