A Great Pregnancy; or, Christmas in July

(From my all-time favourite little book, Letters to a Young Poet, letter 6)

Rome
December 23, 1903

My dear Mr. Kappus,

I don’t want you to be without a greeting from me when Christmas comes and when you, in the midst of the holiday, are bearing your solitude more heavily than usual…

Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and couldn’t it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful?

…Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?

Dear Mr. Kappus, celebrate Christmas in this devout feeling, that perhaps He needs this very anguish of yours in order to being; these very days of your transition are perhaps the time when everything in you is working at Him, as you once worked at Him in your childhood, breathlessly. Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for spring when it wants to come.

And be glad and confident.

Yours,
Rainer Maria Rilke

Comments
4 Responses to “A Great Pregnancy; or, Christmas in July”
  1. Rachel says:

    Really, Rilke is one of the most comforting writers I’ve ever encountered. Thanks for introducing us those ages ago when we still lived across the ocean. : )

  2. Jenelle says:

    Rachel,
    I would have to agree about that old Rainer Maria. I like to think of him as my nice old uncle whom I still haven’t had the opportunity to meet.

    Did I lend you my copy of Letters? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

  3. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry you can’t find your copy! I don’t have it, and I hope it isn’t still sitting on (or under) our massive bookshelf in Sao Joao. It’s in my plan for the day to go to the used bookstore down the street (called, get ready for it: “Bookman, Bookwoman”) to pick up a copy since I don’t own it. If I find two (or maybe even just one), perhaps I will send you Rilke from Nashville.

    Love, Me.

  4. Jenelle says:

    Rachel, you are a darling. I have a feeling I loaned that little book with my many scribbles, and now have forgotten whose hands hold it.

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