Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who's Having a Baby!?

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

I Timothy 3:16

Oh the beauty and the mystery of the Incarnation!
These days Christmas is either commercialized, patronized, or adored. And for those who adore, maybe we smile or acknowledge, or weep in advent and awe and love. But the fact still remains, this happened to humans. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus - all people.

Meaning, Mary, pondering all these things (Luke 2:19), could have easily said, "That's God kicking in my belly!" Max Lucado actually poses some 25 beautiful questions he'd like to ask Mary [plus some additional commentary by yours truly]:

  1. What was it like watching Him pray?
  2. How did he respond when he saw other kids giggling during the service at the synagogue?
  3. When he saw a rainbow, did he ever mention a flood?
  4. Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world? [Hey Jesus, on day 1, You made heaven and earth!]
  5. When he saw a lamb being led to the slaughter, did he act differently?
  6. Did you ever see him with a distant look on his face as if he were listening to someone you couldn't hear?
  7. How did he act at funerals?
  8. Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you were praying was asleep under you own roof? [More like, "Father God - can Jesus hear me right now? I mean, beside the fact that He's in the other room..."]
  9. Did you ever try to count the stars with him...and succeed?
  10. Did he ever come home with a black eye? [If Jesus said to turn your cheek, did He let other kids beat up on Him? Would He heal Himself? Or did He have the power to restrain them?]
  11. How did he act when he got his first haircut?
  12. Did he have any friends by the name of Judas? [I think of Mr. B's thought of painting kid-Jesus and kid-Judas playing tug of war...]
  13. Did he do well in school?
  14. Did you ever scold him? [Well... wasn't He perfect?]
  15. Did he ever have to ask a question about Scripture?
  16. What do you think he thought when he saw a prostitute offering to the highest bidder the body he made?
  17. Did he ever get angry when someone was dishonest with him?
  18. Did you ever catch him pensively looking at the flesh on his own arm while holding a clod of dirt?
  19. Did he ever wake up afraid? [But there is no fear in LOVE! HE is love!]
  20. Who was his best friend? [...God?]
  21. When someone referred to Satan, how did he act?
  22. Did you ever accidentally call him Father? [or LORD?]
  23. What did he and his cousin John talk about as kids?
  24. Did his other brothers and sisters understand what was happening? [Talk about living under the shadow of perfection! He always made His bed, put things where they belong...]
  25. Did you ever think, That's God eating my soup?

Sacrilegious? I think not. In fact, I'm absolutely humored - perhaps even more in love with Jesus trying to grasp the fact that He was human. And He had human limitations. He probably had an awkward stage ["awkward" by societal interpretation, as it always is]. And Mary, seeing these things with her very eyes, treasured these things in her heart.

And yet, she could have also pondered the following: "If He is God, why does it hurt?" If this is a divine birth, why must I experience pain? Why must I bear weight and be so stretched? If this is God, why do I have to let Him go? If this is God, why must I watch the One I love so torchered and beaten and killed?

Don't we find ourselves in that place? Aren't there moments where God longs to place His desires in our hears, and so we say "Let it be unto me according to Your Word?" And then, only to find that this Word, this promise, this command, this calling - sometimes, it hurts. It's like a weight we carry, a heaviness, a burden. Stretching our limits. Testing our patience. Keeping us awake at night. And sometimes, we eventually question, "God, is this really You?" Maybe our Joseph - the ones closest to us - will question too, "God, are You sure this is Your Spirit and not her way of sneaking out of a sin?" Yes, we face the public, who might disbelieve us or mock us. Yes, temptation will come to doubt or fear. But above all else, we recall the beautiful declaration of promise:

Blessed is she who has believed that what the LORD has said to her will be accomplished.
-Luke 1:45

Post-pregnancy is the joy of a Child. Post-death is the joy of the resurrection. Post-struggle is the earned reward. Post-endurance is the fulfillment of a promise. We are not to keep this pain like a trophy, like a reward for playing the victim - even if we're still in the struggle. We need to recognize that we are part of something greater - we aren't commissioned to build walls, we are commissioned to build cathedrals. Vision gives purpose to pain.

2009 was prophesied as being the year of the womb (among other things), and I am holding out for that. I do believe that the promises God has given me will bear fruit. I believe that the pain I had to endure this past year will be forgotten. For me, '08 had to have been the most stretching and the most ridiculous, and also, the most I've ever fought for Love. And when you fight for Love, you have Love.

One facet of the Incarnation was that it was an act of relentless pursuit - that God so desired to be among us, and wanted us to know that He wants to be closer. It definitely leaves me awestruck to compare the joy and peace found therein, to the human fight for life. I hope with all hopes, that I won't abort this Promise, because even if I experience pain, God is still here, and eventually I can say,

My eyes have seen Your salvation
-Luke 2:30


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