For those of us who’ve heard the story of Christ’s birth countless times, it can start to feel more like a fairy-tale than real life. Our decorations dwell on the glamorous parts of the tale: bright stars, angels singing in the sky, and men in glittering robes bringing exotic gifts.
Yet the most remarkable part of this story manifests in an extraordinarily ordinary way. A young woman encountered the Holy Spirit—causing her to carry God himself in her body.
The Creator of the universe fit inside the womb of an obscure Jewish woman. A woman we still know very little about.
In Luke’s Gospel, the angel tells her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you.”
We cannot begin to imagine what that was like for Mary. But this tender language suggests an experience of profound intimacy and knowing, perhaps greater than what any other human will experience in this life.
There was no grand show, or likely even an audience. Surely there would have been more fanfare in 2020. Mary could have at least had a Twitter account.
But no. Heaven met earth beautifully and simply. And it looked like a woman becoming pregnant.
Could he have chosen a subtler way?
Our God is a force outside the natural laws that govern our universe. Yet he has the kindness to act in ways that are incarnate and comprehensible to us.
The Word can hold the details of a galaxy in a single syllable. The Word can contain information for human DNA in his breath. This same Word became a baby.
That act of humility and superb commitment to humanity defies description.
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” — John 1:9-14
Oh Lord Christ, you embody love and mercy.
May we receive you on this special day.