Monday, December 04, 2006

Let Us Not Make His Birth Common

*Note, I realize a lot of you have already read this. But when I looked back through old blogs, I realized I had never posted it. So, here goes!*

Let Us Not Make His Birth Common
Brandy Campbell
December 10, 2003
I love Christmastime. But as I sit here in my darkened living room, watching the lights on the tree twinkle, inhaling the scent of cranberries and cinnamon, I wonder if I understand the season I love.

I fear that I am not amazed by the advent. I’m afraid that I’ve allowed Christmas carols to influence my thinking, when in fact the story of Jesus’ birth cannot adequately be summed up in a few verses sung by a choir.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Not only the miracle of a virgin bearing a child; more the miracle that God allowed himself to be born. That he allowed himself to be bound up by skin and bone and blood.

Jesus left behind the streets of gold and crystal sea for the dirty roads and muddy rivers of earth. The hands that formed all of creation now clutch the finger of the one who just gave birth to him. The voice that spoke forth the beginning of time is now reduced to cries and coos. The eyes that saw the past, present and future now struggle to focus. He left the crown for a cradle and a cross. He used to listen to the songs of the angels. Now he listens to the shaky, frightened lullaby of Mary. He left a place we can’t even imagine to go to a place we sometimes wish we could forget.

And what’s amazing is He knew what would happen. He knew the physical pain—Jesus knew that he was leaving a place of no sickness to live in a world festering with it. Jesus came here knowing that he would have skinned knees and blisters, stomachaches and stubbed toes. He knew that ultimately he would face a humiliating death, beaten, stripped naked, and suffocated. Thorns gouging his brow. The searing pain of a spear in his side. Rusted nails splintering bones.
I mustn’t forget that Jesus left a place where there were no tears to come here. What was it like the first time he felt hot tears on his cheeks? He was tempted, abandoned by his friends and family, mocked, ridiculed, and forsaken. He wept. Why did he do it? We all know the pat answer: to save us. But couldn’t there have been an easier way? Did he really have to be all human? Couldn’t he have taken away His pain? Couldn’t he have struck dumb those who would mock him? Paralyze those who would beat him?

But Jesus chose the path He did, knowing the consequences, knowing the costs, knowing the reward. And it all began at Christmas. In a city crowded with strangers, a young girl knelt on the hard ground, giving birth to the Savior. Did Joseph pace nearby, looking up at the sky, crying out for help, for answers. When Mary held her child in her arms, could she understand the reality of it? When she laid him at her breast, did she realize her milk was nourishing her creator?

I don’t think she understood. I don’t think her human mind could wrap itself around the deity in her arms. I know mine can’t. I can only pray that the Christmas season will bring with it more amazement than familiarity. May I never make the birth of my Lord common.

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