Christmas Threads Meditations: Thread 10: He’s Arrived
Lk 2:6,7 the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
(Additional Reading: Lk 2:4-7)
How? So Christmas has arrived! It is the day that we put aside to remember the coming of the Son of God to earth in the form of a baby born to a woman, a baby that has been growing in her womb for nine months, just like any other baby. Sometimes we ask God to move in miraculous ways, ways that are contrary to the laws of nature that He has instigated, but instead we so often find, He uses these very laws of nature to bring about His purposes. As we have commented before, He could have just dropped His Son, fully grown, onto the earth, but if He had done that this unique mother would have missed out on the experience of carrying this baby to full term, and Jesus would have missed out on the full human experience of coming to gradual consciousness and self-awareness as a child.
Arrival: And so he has arrived! The background leading up to all this must have conveyed to this couple that this baby was special – they had been told – but when he was born, there he was, just a baby, beautiful no doubt as all babies are in their messy way. But he didn’t have stamped on him, “Son of God. Handle with care.” No, there was nothing to indicate that this was Immanuel, God with us, God in the flesh for the first time ever. Pause up, if you can, in the midst of unwrapping presents or preparing lunch, and close your eyes and imagine this real, messy, possibly crying, vulnerable and needing milk, baby. This is God on earth, and he’s going to grow up and become our Savior. Savor the incredible nature of what had just happened if you can. Ask Him to help you do that.
Mixed Emotions: I am a father, so I have never experienced childbirth, for which I am very grateful. I have been with my wife when our three children arrived and I understand a little bit why she has a greater bond with these three children; they came out of her and she went through that less than easy process of birth with them. So after the arrival there must always be a sense of relief. However traumatic, or otherwise, the birth was, afterwards a sense of relief must be the prevailing emotion, relief and thankfulness, relief that it is over and the child is here safely, and thankfulness for the wonder of this tiny child. How sad, and I would suggest tragic, it is when that relief is because the child is not wanted and the mother cannot wait to offload them to someone else to look after. But as I have watched, experienced it myself, and listened to new mothers as I have led parenting courses, there is also often a sense of fear: how are we going to be able to look after this tiny mite, what do you do? Often there is help available but it’s not normally there in the middle of the night when the baby is crying.
And So: So, I guess Mary and Joseph must have had these feelings. Yes, it is all very well to think that we had these angelic encounters nine months ago, but now what, is this stable our home, how long do we have to be here to register? How long does the law say we must wait before we present him in the temple to be named? How will we live, how will we survive? And yet I am sure that somehow God would have been there reassuring this couple with their new-born babe. And if for them then, for us today?
Let’s Pray: Pause in silence for a few moments and reflect on the reality of what happened. “Lord, there are times when we are conscious of standing on holy ground. This, I feel, is one of them. We dare to risk remembering your arrival, Lord Jesus, and so much of the time today it is almost submerged in the affairs of the day – giving presents, preparing lunch and so on – and we risk skipping past this holy moment because of the pressures of ‘the things yet to be done’. Forgive us. Lord, thank you for the shear wonder of this unique time in history. We confess we cannot fully understand it, how this tiny baby is the vehicle that carries almighty God, that he is ‘God with us’ and so simply, by faith, we just say a tentative thank you, tentative because we hardly know what we’re saying, but thank you, thank you that you came and you came like this. Lord, for what the words mean, thank you. Amen.”