This is the final installment in a series of three. Please read the previous two before this...
And then, when it seems like dusk has set out irrevocably for night. When despair is palpable, something changes.
Off the beaten path, in a forgotten town, in a stable, there is a young pregnant girl, nervous, eyes squinting as she fights off the beginning pains of labor. People have judged her for being pregnant before marriage. Rumors had spread. Even with an angel’s assurance their was challenge and heart-ache. Now, on the ground of a stable the pain continues...
Next to her is a young man. His eyes dart around, nervous. He holds the girl, as if protecting her. He gets up. He walks back and forth, around the donkeys and other animals in the stable. A few days ago he had a vision of an angel, it was bright startling and reassuring. Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:20-21).
But that was a few days ago; all the reassurance that gave, it faded in the face of the pressure and pain of the coming birth. It was almost as if both the young man and the girl were aching with the question “Where are you now God? Sure there was a vision of an angel. Sure. But how about now, in this manger. On this cold night. Where are you?” The cry in the very heart of humanity since the garden: “Where are you God?”
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
The answer to not only Mary and Joseph’s cry, but humanity’s cry of where are you is answered in the manger amidst animals and a nervous and scared young married couple. Immanuel: God with us. In Jesus God tells all of creation: ‘I am with you.’
11 May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.
12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
6 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.