A Very Merry Christmas
First I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a truly happy new year. I love this time of year and – especially since it’s upon us – I hope you do, too!
Anyway, of all the things people celebrate this holiday season, most will recognize the birth of Jesus. And, just as likely, they’ll breeze right past the fact that the Christmas story actually begins with an unwed teenage pregnancy.
Oh. Well, yes.
Sort of difficult when you think about it like that, isn’t it? The gritty and the miraculous all mixed up together.
How very like God.
Anyway, while we celebrate lots of things this time of year, the conception tends to get lost in the shuffle. In fact, we’ve made it almost entirely about the birth of Jesus. Which historically speaking was probably in September. (Shoot me an email if you want to look at that.)
Now, I’m not saying the birth isn’t a wonderful, beautiful thing. It is, and there are truly amazing things surrounding Jesus’ birth including buckets of prophecies with astronomically high odds against it ever happening as predicted. But it did. And that’s great stuff.
But a birth in and of itself is, well, sort of old hat. Yes, it was in a barn, and I know, it was Jesus. But I mean, really, think about it. Everyone you know was born.
But this pregnancy thing? That really messes with people. In fact, I think it’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith. Even in the church, I’m not sure a lot of us really know what to do with it.
Yet, there it is. Hmmm.
I wonder if we blow past it because it’s hard to make the connection between Mary being impregnated by the Spirit of God and our own life. Sure, we get Jesus out of the whole deal, but are we skipping from Mary to the birth and missing a piece that’s especially for us?
In our excitement and haste to unwrap the biggest gift under the tree, could we be throwing out a really amazing gift we’ve wanted – needed – for a long time.
Here’s what I mean…
We’re all looking for life, right? Yet birthing a full, rich life often eludes us. We push and pull, strive and struggle, but often come up empty.
Because you can’t give birth to what hasn’t been conceived.
Make sense so far? Okay, here’s where it might get tricky.
In the same way Mary needed God to impregnate her with supernatural life, we need a similar miracle.
Wait, what? Okay, consider this: could Mary have given birth to a natural child? Yes. She and Joe could have had children of their own (and later did) without divine intervention.
But she could not have given birth to the Son of God without divine intervention.
And I’d argue we’re like that, too. Can we give birth to all sorts of ‘natural’ children? Sure. But for something miraculous, we need more than what we’re ‘naturally’ capable of. We’re powerless, so to speak.
They know this in AA and other 12-step programs, but a lot of us don’t see that as something for us. You know, that’s for people who’ve been “broken.”
Umm. We’re all broken (at least, at some point).
And that’s what Christmas – the divine intervention – fixes.
It’s just that whole ‘letting-God-impregnate-us-with-life’ thing is… well, difficult.
Anyway, regardless of where you stand on the whole thing, my prayer for you this holiday season is this: I pray the God who caused Mary to birth the greatest gift the world has ever received fills you with a life you could not possibly conceive on your own, and that this Christmas you receive that new life with all the joy the season intends.
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