Virgin Birth

Christmas 2014
Track II
children and turn away---God still loves
us this much.
A Virgin Birth. Preposterous? I know
some people find it so. In fact, for some
this outrageous claim about a Virgin
Birth is too much. Too much. It is a
claim that makes Christianity just
entirely “too much” to swallow. I mean,
come on, right? Why would we--intelligent, civilized, thinking human
beings---why would we believe in a
Virgin Birth?
God still loves us so much, that in order
to help us find our way back to the
Promise, God sends his only Son---the
Divine steps out of Paradise into the
pain of human existence in order to lead
us home. To show us that it is possible
to still know hope, joy, and love in the
midst of darkness. Jesus came to show
us how to live. To demonstrate what it
means to be human---truly human made
in the image of the Divine.
And I get it. I do understand the need to
be able to wrap one’s head around it. I
like figuring things out as much as the
next person. I enjoy putting together the
clues to arrive at the answer. Nothing
better than a good mystery.
And Jesus—God becoming flesh—is a
good mystery. A mystery like no other.
The birth of a baby boy who is really the
Son of God---fully human and fully
divine. 100% divine and 100% human,
so that’s…..200%? Wait a minute--that doesn’t make any sense.
After all, would we really want it to make
sense? Do we really want to limit God’s
capabilities and influence to the limits of
human understanding? Why would we
think the Almighty, the Creator of all
things, should be reasonable,
explainable, and logical? Why are we
surprised that the best we can do with
our language, our images, our words
and phrases, is to come up with
something that can only be defined as a
And Jesus doesn’t make any sense--not by human standards. By human
standards, it doesn’t make sense to love
as God loves. A gracious and
overwhelming love that provides us this
Creation, the beauty of nature, the gifts
and talents each of us have, the
relationships and blessings we receive,
the abundance of food and drink which
is enough, when shared accordingly, to
provide for every human need.
Yet, every Mystery still contains great
Truth. And our truth in the mystery of
the Incarnation—the birth of this Son of
God---is, at least, two-fold.
First of all, God desires to be born within
humanity. Within us. God, who is
beyond all our knowing and
understanding, God desires to be as
close as our heartbeat, as near as our
next breath, as present as our every
thought. God comes to dwell in us, in
It doesn’t make sense that God---even
when we refuse to listen, when we
disobey, even when we act like petulant
And our second Truth: The healing of
humanity’s wounds and wrongs—
salvation comes from God---but through
humanity. Through human hands,
human voices, human feet, human
actions and choices.
Salvation doesn’t come from magic or
good mojo, fate or destiny. Our saving
comes from God through us. Salvation
comes when we sit with those who
grieve and are simply a presence of love.
Salvation comes when we hurt someone
with our words or our behavior, and the
person we wounded forgives us.
Salvation comes through the
Youth in our Youth group who gave of
their own money to provide clean water
for people in Zimbabwe who cannot just
turn on the faucet.
Salvation comes from our Shalom
Center that opens its doors in order to
welcome in those who are seeking a
helping hand through community.
Salvation comes when we gather as the
living members of the Body of Christ--seeing the face of Christ in one
another—and making ourselves
vulnerable to the Holy Spirit so she can
begin to bind up our wounds and
smooth out our rough edges.
So if we turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, or
a hard heart to the choices, actions and
words that give birth to salvation, then
we become an obstacle to salvation
instead of a gateway. Jesus came to
show us how to be the gateway.
We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. In
any kingdom, it isn’t the King who does
all the work. The King empowers and
enables the people to make the
Kingdom come, the King’s will to be
The prophet Isaiah reminds us---“take
no rest.” We are to shine with the
brightness of the true light. For, we
believe the Light has come into the
world. Jesus, the true Light, has come
into the world. And the darkness does
not overcome it.
Peace on earth? Goodwill to all people?
These promises might appear to be as
unbelievable as the Virgin birth, but this
baby born in a manger reminds us that
love, that salvation, that Hope is born in
the most unexpected of places, to the
most unexpected of people. In places
like this, in people like us.
Let me share a poem written by Leslie
Leyland Fields:
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
of our hearts
and says, “Yes, let the God
of Heaven and Earth
be born here --in this place.”
In these hearts. In us. Let every heart
prepare him room.
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