December 22: Strange Way to be Born
“How will this be” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). Christmas is almost here. That’s […]
“How will this be” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34).
Christmas is almost here.
That’s a relief.
So much has happened that we wouldn’t be surprised to read this headline: “Christmas Canceled Because of Coronavirus Concerns.” It’s been that kind of year.
But Christmas has not been canceled.
We’re only three days away from the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Some things can’t be changed by the rush of current events. No one in Judea expected the birth of the Messiah 2000 years ago. If Twitter had existed back then, they would have been debating the legality of the census ordered by Caesar Augustus. That’s the one that forced people to travel back to their hometowns. No doubt people would have argued against it and tried to organize a boycott.
Good luck with that.
The Romans took a dim view of boycotts and public demonstrations.
But the greater point remains. No one knew or expected or even imagined what was about to happen. There were no Christmas trees in Bethlehem.
What happened there remains the central mystery of the Christian faith. The angel told Joseph to call the baby Immanuel because that’s who Jesus is—God with us. He stripped off his royal robes and exchanged them for strips of peasant cloth. He traded a palace for a stable so that he might be “God with us.”
Here’s how one Statement of Faith puts it: “We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and is fully God and fully Man.” That sentence contains a phrase that will make the smartest man stop and scratch his head: “fully God and fully man.” How that could be is a mystery to us. By that phrase, we simply mean that the baby in the manger was God in human flesh.
See his little hands and feet; they are the hands and feet of God.
Listen to him laugh; it is the laughter of God.
Wipe the tears from his infant cheeks; you are wiping the tears of God.
Some things we understand and therefore believe. Christmas is a miracle of another order. We can think of a thousand other ways God could have done it. But God chose the unusual (a virgin birth) and the unlikely (a baby born in a stable) as his means of visiting our planet.
At Christmastime, like the Wise Men of old, we are invited to bring our gifts to Bethlehem and welcome God to our world.
Father, we believe in the virgin birth because we believe your Word. As we contemplate this miracle, increase our faith to believe nothing is impossible with God. Amen.
Musical bonus: Today we have a special treat. The group For King and Country puts a contemporary twist to Joy to the World.