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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

Christmas is celebrating the conceiving and birthing of Jesus, the Christ.

Mary was His mother, the human channel. The Holy Spirit was His Father, the divine channel.

Consequently, Jesus is the God-man, the only personage of His kind in all history.

Christmas' new life is the zenith of God's delight in birthing miraculously, such being both prelude and postlude to the virgin conception of Jesus Christ.

For instance, at the creation of the first human, Adam, God birthed this man from the earth. Granted, it was a secondary creation to underline the human's need for humility; nevertheless, it was a miraculous birthing--from dust to man. Only God could have done it.

From the womb of divine grace was born the original human being, the height of creation's journey.

Further in history, Abraham and Sarah were promised a son, the child of promise. God gospeled them this; therefore, it was mandated to come to pass.

However, as the couple grew older, they passed childbearing ages. Nevertheless, while Abraham was l00 and Sarah was 90, they experienced a miracle conception in an elderly woman's womb. Birthing God miraculously sparked Isaac's life in a womb supposedly not able to carry a child. There is no other explanation possible than that: it was sheer miracle.

Adam and Abraham foreshadow Zechariah. This Jewish priest was informed by God's angel, Gabriel, that his elderly wife, Elizabeth, would become pregnant. For this to occur, a miracle would have to take place in her aged body. It did take place. Birthing God once again saw to it.

From Elizabeth's womb came John the Baptist, kinsman to Jesus. The conception / birthing was possible only because God oversaw it.

At the same time Elizabeth was overjoyed with her pregnancy, Mary was overawed by Gabriel's annunciation of the Messiah's conception in her womb. However, Mary was not confronting the barrenness of old age; she was dealing with never having had sex for she was a teen-aged virgin.

The GOSPELS inform us that Mary's conception occurred miraculously by way of the Holy Spirit--the birthing God.

Both Abraham and Sarah as well as Zechariah and Elizabeth realized God's miraculous energy set loose in conceiving power within wombs that were beyond childbearing.

However, Joseph and Mary realized God's miraculous energy set loose in conceiving power within a virgin's womb. Both the elderly and the young came upon God's conceiving and birthing graces--miraculously so.

No wonder then that this Messiah, when seeing through His public ministry for three years, informed already born Nicodemus that he had to be "born".

How? Nicodemus, Jewish religious leader, asked of the Nazareth rabbi.

Jesus answered by telling him that the birthing was to be in his soul, not his body. Further, it was to be miraculously conceived by none other than the same Holy Spirit who had conceived Jesus in Mary's young womb.

From that day till this, believers have thanked God for the "born again experience"--a personal spiritual reality possible only because of God's gracious miracle energy.

All Christians then come into a child-to-Father relationship with God by being born in the soul--a personal Christmas, indeed. The Holy Spirit conceives in us His mercy by which we are adopted out of the family of satan into the family of God. There is no other explanation for this conversion happening than to state it as compassionate miracle.

Further, the wonder continues: each believer at some point in time dies. However, according to the gospel, he does not die, that is, he is not extinguished. Instead, the Holy Spirit conceives his soul into the birthing of heaven.

Just as an angel welcomed the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb--and later angelic hosts welcomed Jesus' birth--so the believer is welcomed into heaven's birthing by eternity's angels.

Just as shepherds welcomed the newborn Jesus in the manger, so those redeemed lambs who precede us to glory welcome believers birthed through heaven's gates.

It is an on-going message of wonder, grace and miracle: God is intent on conceiving and birthing life--from Adam till the end of earthly time.

Even eternal life is never-ending birthing goodness, holiness and love--that beyond human understanding and explanation. God sees to it.

Christmas, for this earth's stay, is then the apex of that marvelous story.

". . .glory to God in the highest. . ."

Such a blessing is Christmas!