Unlike most of you, I have never carried a child in my womb, nor have I, except for a college biology film, ever witnessed the birth of a child. I have no firsthand knowledge of this wondrous miracle, but I am fascinated by the facts.
At inception, the female egg is about the size of a grain of sand. I believe that fertilization of the egg is the beginning of human life, and in that tiny, almost microscopic, mass lives the potential for greatness, for achievement, genius, tenderness, success, leadership, kindness, brilliance and the whole gamut of emotions. Think of tiny fingers that will one day play Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto #3, feet that will run The Boston Marathon, a mind that will conquer cancer, a voice that will sway the multitude, and arms that will hold a loved one.
Friends speak of a difficult pregnancy and a hard prolonged labor, but they never say, “I wish I hadn’t done it.” For when that child finally makes his debut appearance, howling in protest at his forced departure from a comfy, warm, safe abode, he may be red and wrinkled and uglier than lye soap, but that’s not what his mother sees. He may not be a Gerber Baby, but his mother sees nothing but a miracle of life, a miracle of beauty when she first holds him close to her heart.
At this season, we are thinking, as we should be, about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are not sure when He was born. Bible scholars, judging from historical events of the time, place His birth between 1 BC and 6 BC. However, we are sure that He was not born on December 25, for shepherds would not have had their sheep in the fields in wintertime. It is believed that He was born in September or October, meaning that He could have been conceived in December.
It is not important to pinpoint His exact date of birth. The importance is in knowing that He came. That is the miracle of Christmas.
We have a convoluted notion concerning the birth of Jesus. Our beautiful Christmas cards portray Mary and Joseph in a neat open-air stable, a sweet, docile, haloed baby in a pristine manger filled with fresh, sweet hay, with well-groomed, well-behaved cattle in observance.
In reality, Jesus birth parallels the birth of that newborn in a hospital delivery room. There was blood and gore and pain and hard labor and sweat and tears. This all took place in a non-sterile, dark cave, where the lowing, sweating cattle were stabled, and the acrid aroma of cow manure filled the air. There was nothing romantic about His birth.
We have a hard time dealing with the humanity of Christ. But the truth is, at His Father’s bidding, He left the glories of heaven becoming an embryo in the womb of a teenage, Galilean girl. The Son of God submitted Himself to total oblivion for nine long months. He relinquished His supernatural power and willingly allowed Himself to be hemmed in by time and space.
He was born a man-child, and as a man-child, he behaved as any newborn behaves. He screamed when he was hungry. He cried when He was wet. Oh yes! He did wet and mess His diapers. Joseph, with babe in arms, walked the manure strewn floor, hoping disparately to calm the crying child, so everyone could get a little sleep. At His birth, only Mary and Joseph knew He was God’s Son. To all others, He was just another baby born into a poor family. Only at the heralding of the angels did others become aware that this babe was special.
It is hard to understand that Jesus became as we are—human flesh and blood, but He did. He did it for us.
Philippians 2:7-8 tells us, “…He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.”
II Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
The song says:
From a loving heavenly Father,
To a world that knew Him not
Came the man of sorrows, Christ the Lord.
In my wanderings He found me,
Bought my soul with His own blood,
Gave to me a peace the world could not afford.
Redeeming love, a love that knows no limit.
Redeeming love, a love that shall not die.
My soul shall sing throughout the endless ages,
With choirs extolling His great love on high.
This is the real miracle of Christmas! His birth, His life lived on this earth as a man, His ministry, His crucifixion, and resurrection all result in His limitless, redeeming love for you and me.
You can experience His redeeming love. You can know the real miracle of Christmas.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!