My son turned seven last week, and as is our tradition on each of our kids’ birthdays, my wife and I spent a few moments together remembering his birth: our excitement as we headed to the hospital, the unanticipated length of the labor, his heart rate beginning to drop with each contraction, the nurses’ escalating concern, the minutes we feared we might lose him, the emergency C-section, and the relief when we heard him crying and alive.
Birth is a hopeful, frightening, beautiful, bloody, agonizing, joyful, miraculous thing.
Compared to my wife, I’ve played a trivial role in the pregnancy and birth of our five children.
With each child, I’ve watched her give her body over as a little one grows inside her, seen her suffer the pains of delivery, been humbled as she’s put her life on the line for theirs.
Remembering my son’s birth this year may be why Mary’s caught my attention recently. She did all this with Jesus. And although she’s never been the central figure of Christmas for me, I’m humbled remembering her.
In a very real way, she was the first to invite Christ to live in her, to make a home within for His life to grow, to suffer for His sake, to be transformed because of Him, and to allow Him to be revealed to the world through her.
Even as I write, I wrestle with this. Mary’s story seems so distinctly unique from what any of us will ever experience. Her ‘yes’ to God will never be repeated.
But what if Christianity is more like pregnancy than many of us typically think? What if our ‘yes’ to God leads to the life of Christ growing within us (Colossians 1:27), transforming us (2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 3:20-21), making us “pregnant” with God’s very presence, opening our lives to suffering and “inward groaning” (Romans 8:22ff) until Christ is fully formed in us (Galatians 4:19) and His love and life eclipses our own (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)?
Well if this is true, I am grateful to God for Mary. In comparison with this teenage Jewish girl, I live out a rather trivial faith.
This Christmas, may we open ourselves more and more and more to Christ, giving Him our ‘Yes’ even when it stretches us more than we think we can bear, that we too would carry Christ into the world, until the memory of us is eclipsed by the revelation of Him. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below.
Let it be done unto me,