I know how you feel, Molly, my sister. Your back aches, abdomen stretched tight, churning inside you - will this pregnancy ever end? You are really ready to give birth to your babies! Not long until Birth Day.
This molly fish will soon give birth to as many as 100 babies, all born “live,” meaning fully developed, ready to go, “viviparous.” Many fish are “oviparous,” laying eggs that hatch later and far from Mom. But mollies, guppies, perch, some sharks all give “live birth.”
I love how many different ways there are to have babies in God’s creation. Lay eggs or give live birth, sexual or asexual reproduction, do it just once in your life (octopus) or over and over (mollies), start birthing at 8 weeks (mollies) or 20 years (loggerhead turtles.) There’s no end to all the ways new life blooms. God clearly loves diversity and variety in all things, even birth.
At this “pregnant” Christmas time of year we here at the Blue Theology Mission Station (bluetheology.com) are telling wet birth narratives from oceans and rivers. Last week we shared the gospel of pregnant whale travelers.
Actually, all birth stories are wet. We viviparous human children of God emerge from 9 months in an inner sea, our mother’s amniotic fluid that is the same salinity as the ocean. Creation’s eggy births are also wet, fed by juicy nutritious yolks. 33 years ago I had a blessed Advent pregnancy and when my “waters” broke, it wasn’t just Norah that was wet.
“Molly” is of course not just the name of this tiny fish, but a nickname for Mary. This season we remember a Mary who, like this molly, bravely waited, not knowing what exactly was coming next, but trusting that it was good and right. And wet. Even in dry Palestine, on that holy night, Mary and Jesus were wet. Stay wet, my friends.