Be Born in Us Today

— Andy Wade —

What does it mean?

advent.bus

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6




Every year, at least once a year, we hear these prophetic words. They become so common to our ears that it’s easy to lose sight of the depth of their meaning. This child, bursting though the amniotic sack like every other child before, is like none other. His mother knew it. Joseph knew it. Elizabeth knew it as, I’m sure, did Zachariah. But the new reality this baby would bring to the world was still concealed in the amniotic sack of faith, hidden in hearts, waiting to be born.

Pausing this night, this eve of Emmanuel, I wonder what it all means. Oh, I do understand the theology behind it. I know the Christmas Story and yes, I do believe. But this birthing process is an ongoing, unfolding adventure of discovery. There are times of pain, sometimes pain that comes like contractions, making us cry out, “How long, oh Lord, how long?”

Then come the times of birth, great joy, even surprise. “How could such life, such beauty, spring forth from me?” And yet it does. Over and over again, as we yield ourselves like Mary:

Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.

My goal, these 12 days of Christmas, is to explore what it means to have this child, this Prince of Peace, this Wonderful Counselor, born in us day after day. I will be drawing on the traditional holy days from Roman Catholic, Protestant, and various Orthodox traditions, but primarily reflecting on this birth in us, this amazing, life-transforming birth. Not meant just as a one-off event, not meant just as a personal/private transformation, but a birth that joins the Song of Mary, recognizing that this birth, this manifestation of Emmanuel, is meant for the whole creation — even now, stirring in each one of us, waiting to catch its first breath.

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Luke 1:46-55