Noelle was early, and came fast. We almost didn't make it to the hospital in time. I gave birth without pain medication, and felt every part of nature's course. And that was a little bit like Mary, too. Noelle, a Christmas name for my kind-of Christmas baby, slipped into this world in the dark, wee hours of early morning. I'm not sure if there were stars shining.
I instinctively relaxed through contractions, but I didn't know what I was doing. The first time had been so different. My friend's apt attention was on the other end of the phone. I was securing plans to be away from the 2-year-old big brother for a few days, every minute and a half a contraction. I had to close my eyes, stop talking, and breathe slower. After it passed, I spoke frantically, racing the ever-shortening increments of time until the next wave of impending life began its crescendo. Plans were becoming futile.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Since my own wild and natural birth, I ponder every Christmas the wonder of childbirth in the course of a young woman's life. She clings to her husband's hand, grasping his very life to anchor her here while she bears down to brings forth another. This process, beyond any young girl, will not be denied, and she needs the steadying.
The urge to push overwhelms. A too-large baby makes a way where there seems to be no way through a too-small tunnel connecting confined darkness to unbound light. I thought I would die of it in a flash — the same flash when flesh tore through a ring of fire. I perceived my own possilbe demise; nevertheless I pushed without regard for myself.
This instinct, was it God the Father's when the fullness of time came for him? When he pushed his glorious, ready Son as a newborn into the fleshly world, a large God somehow making a way through small humanity?
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)
To dwell means to pitch one's tent. God bent low, staked the tent peg of sacred seed in the earth of a virgin womb and crawled inside the tent of human flesh. Think of it: God -- camping. He left Heaven for Earth, a stable now suddenly apropo. The Maker of the universe and Giver of life disrobed his rightful and heavenly majesty to disguise himself as a newborn in a barn.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. (John 1:4-5, 9)
He tunneled from unbridled light to the confines of darkness so His heart could beat just beneath our own. God camped.
No wonder Israel didn't recognize him.
But, oh, the wonder when we do!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)