The Carpenter 🎄

by Ryanne McLaren Molinari

This small pink being in my aching arms is not my own
But I am now and ever wholly his. 
The curl of these pudgy knuckles round my roughened thumb
Hold me in a stronger, steadfast grip.
Each tiny coo and cough strikes to my heart
As the gurgles of these little lips
Voice the groaning of all the weary earth
For this tiny boy of wondrous birth.

But, oh! How can it rightly be? 
Surely, surely it should not be me.
My palms are callused, thick and hardened,
Scarred from splinters and nicked by nails.
How can these work-worn, bloodied things
Hold this soft, sweet newborn King? 

No crude board should ever touch this flesh, 
No nail pierce his as mine—

But he wriggles, 
He whimpers
With a sleeping baby’s sigh. 

He cares not for my wounded hands
And nor, right now, should I.

Ryanne McLaren graduated from Biola University in 2019 with her Bachelor of Music in piano and organ performance. During her time at Biola, she was named the Biola Conservatory’s “Presser Undergraduate Music Scholar” for her devotion to music, service, and academics. Ryanne also studied literature in the Torrey Honors College and was appointed to “The Order of Peter and Paul” in recognition of her interdisciplinary achievements. In December 2020, Ryanne received her Master of Letters with distinction in “Theology and the Arts” from the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland. While at St. Andrew’s, Ryanne served as organ scholar at the beautiful St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and was employed as a pianist by the Laidlaw Music Centre.

Ryanne was recently married to Billy Molinari, who shares her love of theology, distance running, and British mysteries. The two now live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and represent the classic “pastor and pianist” duo as they seek to promote biblical teaching and beautiful worship. Ryanne currently works as a collaborative pianist and continues to publish both academic and creative writing through various online journals, including her personal site, She loves working with fellow Christian creatives and plans to further her studies in music, literature, and theology.

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