Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Pastor's Page: The Ugly Side of New Birth (Advent #4)

Duffy Robbins, a Youth Ministry professor, humorously recounts all the unsightliness and un-comeliness of giving birth. He notes that a first-time visitor from another planet would assume that something truly horrific was happening in the mater-nity ward, as he heard all the screaming, and wit-nessed the frenzied activity, and incredible pain and hardship associated with human birth. Robbins' tongue-in-cheek analysis conveys the important fact that bringing forth new life is messy business.

This was true even of the birth of the Savior. The miraculous conception brought shame to the couple. There was hardship in making the journey to Bethlehem. Being sent to the stable to share lodging with the sheep was insulting. There was panic in every step as they fled with Herod's thugs in hot pursuit. Bloodshed, violent shrieks of anguish, and tear-streaked cheeks filled nurseries in every household in Bethlehem as Herod raged over the one who was born King of the Jews. This birth was indeed a messy business.

But these labor pains were not in vain. The Savior was born, and so, New Life was brought into this world—like never before.

As with any new birth, we pace wearily through our daily lives, facing potential tragedy on every side. Yet we experience all this while fixing our eyes on Jesus who says, "Behold, I make all things new!" (Rev 21:5).


Anonymous said...

You mean "The Virgin Birth" not "The Immaculate Conception."

Rev. James M. Leonard said...

Yes, of course. (I've made the correction.)

I suppose some of us Protestants are so tuned out of the peculiarities of Roman Catholicisim that we forget that devoted Catholics take seriously the non-biblical notion that Mary was born without the stain of original sin:

Still, 'twas a sophomoric thing for me to write, and I appreciate the correction.