Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

There's something special about Christmas Eve. Jesus, as we know, is about to come into the world as a beautiful baby boy, born in a manger in Bethlehem. Which begs the question: what about all the little girls?

Because there was no little girl born in that manger in Bethlehem. There were no wise men bringing dollhouses and easy bake ovens. There were no frilly little dresses and bows in the hair. There were no precious flowers. God came into this world as a little boy; He grew into a man. And not just a man, but a man's man - rough, calloused hands; dirty, dust-laden feet; beard; bridegroom; shepherd; teacher; priest; prophet; king. He's Christ, the so-called "second Adam." 

But what about all the Eves?

I'm not trying to draw some sexist or feminist lines here; that's not what this is about. It is, however, a legitimate question that has been raised time and time again over the last two thousand years. If God came into the world as a male, what does that mean for the females? If God is Son of Man, what about all the women? 

The answer lies in Mary, and traces all the way back to Eve.

Mary was a young virgin when the angel Gabriel came to her and spoke his prophecy. What's interesting to note about her story is that the prophecy was never that God was going to come and plant a baby in her womb. It wasn't that He had this God-child ready to go and was going to supernaturally manifest Him in Mary. No. When Mary asks how it's possible that she, a virgin, is going to have a child, the angel tells her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will become pregnant." (emphasis mine) The Son of God is not implanted; the virgin is impregnated. 

That means that God used the very biological function of the woman to create the Son of Man. It means the woman was not just the vessel of the coming Christ, but was a very real part of His creation. It means that the woman was not assaulted by the Holy Spirit; she received it. We all know it takes both a man and a woman to make a baby, and the story of Jesus is no different. The Son of God required a woman.

And it is, of course, by this woman that the Man came into the world, which means that wrapped up in the very story of the baby boy is the story of the young woman. 

We shouldn't get confused here. This doesn't mean that all of us females in the world are supposed to relate to Mary, to pregnancy, to birth stories, to all of the biological stuff that's necessary and relevant to the Christmas story. To do merely that is to miss the point entirely. It's not about Mary in the manger; it's about Mary, the mother of Jesus. It's about the necessary and relevant nature of woman as essential to life itself. She not only provides the womb; she provides an element of life.

And that leads us back to Eve, to the beginning of the story, to the Garden of Eden. It's interesting to note that Eve did not receive her name until after the fall; before sin, she was simply known as Adam's 'wife.' Adam, at the curse, named her Eve. And Eve...means "life."

That's the woman's role in the fallen world. She is life. She becomes pregnant and life grows within her. And isn't that life none other than Jesus?

He says so. He plainly says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Part of that life is due directly to the woman, to Mary, to the second Eve who is intimately, indisputably, inconceivably (and ironically, by conception) tied to the second Adam. A woman redeemed by the birth of a Redeemer.

This is Christmas Eve. 

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