(28) born of the Virgin Mary

Both the Bible and the Creed lay emphasis on the agency of God and the fact that Jesus was actually born, more than on Mary’s virginity. At this late date, or even in earliest Christian times, no one could prove anything about the virginity of Jesus’ mother. It has always been a matter of faith. After all, the paternity of any child is likewise largely a matter of faith in his mother’s story. I believe . . . in Jesus . . . born of the Virgin Mary. Biological scientists no longer say that a virgin birth is impossible. Nor should theologians say that Jesus absolutely had to be born of a virgin. Only God knows about Jesus. The Scriptures don’t use the virgin birth of Jesus to prove any essential doctrine. They simply record it and pass on to other matters. So do I.

Mary’s part in our Lord’s story must not be underplayed. As a male, I note that God chose a woman for the honor of bringing his Son into the world. Christian men must realize that God does not share their prejudices concerning women. Mary was amazed that God knew that a little nobody like her even existed. But God has his eye on all of us, even the lowliest. Even I can be swept into the current of God’s great plan. Although Mary couldn’t explain things to herself or to anyone else, she still murmured her faithful obedience to God. I must not wait until God answers all my questions before I begin obeying him. Mary had “found favor with God,” but nevertheless she came into great trouble over her son. God’s favor doesn’t promise me a lifetime of unbroken happiness. Mary could not prove that the child she bore was the Son of God. Only God could vindicate her, and he did. As I take up my deeply personal task of bearing Christ to the world, risking my reputation among the worldly wise, only God can vindicate me by honoring my work with fruitfulness. Mary has a glory all her own as well as the common glory of Christian faith. All generations, including mine, must call her blessed, but we need not deck her with false jewels. Mary needed a Savior too. Through her, God came down low enough, once and for all, to hear our prayers even today. We need not use Mary as our errand girl.

Jesus was born. The Son of God really became part of the human race. He bridged the great gulf between the Creator and his creatures, between the Holy God and sinful men. What is God’s can now come to man, and man can come freely to God. God used Mary, an earthly means, to accomplish his purpose. He used the intricate arrangements of birth to bring his Son into the world. Since Jesus came, a new glory has surrounded childbearing, motherhood, and home.

Christmas in my home must never be greedy, gaudy, or guzzling. The birth of Jesus contains such profound meanings that silent wonder, breaking forth into joyous praise, is the proper response. May God help me and my family to redeem Christmas. We can at least make it a birthday celebration for Jesus and invite him to come. I hope that our Guest will not be forgotten. And I hope that we will not forget that we are really his guests at God’s great feast!