“The Trail of Blood”

The smell of shit and animals and human sweat mixed into an aroma she would never forget. The acrid stench overpowered the sweetness of the hay lining the manger that served as a crib. But the underlining stink was that of fear. Fear for the delivery…and for what comes after. ‘Fear not,’ the angel proclaimed…but here in the moment of crux, it was difficult to obey even the commands of heaven.

She would remember every detail of those days, and in the weeks and months to come tales would be whispered of the virgin girl who birthed God. This child of promise who would grow to die and live again. The blood from the birth a dark foreshadowing of the trail ahead.

His life would follow a trail of blood.

Would he have memory of even these first moments? In the coming years her dreams would be haunted by Rachel’s cries, of the children slaughtered to prevent his coming. She would watch him grow into a man of sorrows, the weight of the world placed upon him in the form of the very instrument that would claim his life.

She would have other sons and daughters. There would even be one who would ease the pain of her loss by becoming her surrogate son, the dying wish of God to his mother, with blood as the seal of adoption.

The blood is the life.

She watched as life drained from his body, cruelly hung on a tree like a criminal. The clouds grew dark, and the wind raged and tore at his clothes now in the hands of his killers, the plunder for those who killed God. The cries of sorrow and the cries of mockery went unnoticed by mother and son…her world reduced to sorrow and blood.

They exchanged a final wordless exchange. ‘Fear not,’ she remembered. Here in the moment of crux, it was difficult to believe she would not die with him.

The trail of blood ended that day with a final cry from her baby.

‘It is finished.’

And then he died. And her world was reduced to waiting for the promise of his return, the trail leading him beyond the circles of this world…to a throne not made by human hands.

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