“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 19, 2020. Read Luke 2:7 and Psalm 84.
“She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
This is it. It’s the big moment. After a stunning annunciation, nine months of pregnancy and a trip to Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to the Spirit-filled Son of God, who is destined to assume the throne of David, reigning over a kingdom that will no end. Mary has contractions, her water breaks, the head appears, a baby cries, the cord is cut, the infant is cleaned up and swaddled. Just like so many other babies, Christ the Savior is born.
There are so many things that can go wrong throughout pregnancy and birth. In our world, it involves prenatal vitamins, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests and heart-rate monitoring. High-risk pregnancy? There’s even more.
A lot of things go right, too. A tiny heart begins to beat. Internal organs develop. Tiny fingers and toes grow, including unique fingerprints and footprints. Hair grows. The unborn child moves and stretches, impatiently awaiting a birthday! Knit together in a mother’s womb, each child is fearfully and wonderfully made!
That tiny voice once spoke the universe into existence. Those tiny hands once formed the man from the dust. Those tiny feet would soon leave footprints everywhere from Galilee to Calvary. Those little fingers would one day open eyes to see, ears to hear and mouths to speak. So many lives will be changed because Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, Jesus the Christ.
This year, Christmas seems to be the destination. Liturgically, we reach the end of four weeks of Advent. Commercially, we’re wrapping up a longer-than-ever two-months of decorating and shopping. Physically we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of a long year of distancing and quarantine.
Don’t forget that Christmas is actually the beginning. Soon, people would begin to hear Jesus teach with authority. They would begin to see his power as he commanded the demons, the wind and the waves. They would begin to witness his compassion for the harassed and hurting. They would begin to understand that he came to die and rise again. Christmas would indeed be the beginning of a new creation for all who embraced Jesus as the Christ.
There were no baby showers. No gender reveal celebrations. No cute nursery decorations. No car seat to install. No maternity (or paternity) leave.
Just a birth. Just a son. But what a gift! And what a Savior!
Lord, don’t ever let me forget the miracle and wonder of birth and especially your birth. Amen.