This being the Christmas season, I was inspired to think about Jesus when He was a baby. I read the gospel accounts.
It hit me that Mary’s response to the angel’s news she would bear Jesus was not, “Yes, I am about to be married and thank you for telling me my husband and I will have a son.” No, Mary understood the angel meant immediately, so asked, “How could this be, I have not had physical intimacy with a man?”
The answer of course is that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and work the miracle of God becoming man, of God stepping into His creation to experience it “from the inside” as it were. It is not enough to create mankind, God had to experience it!
That got me thinking. A while back I wrote a short story on the conceptual beginning of mankind, when God sat around and thought us up. I posted it in this blog as the menu page “God’s Desire.”
I realized there is a scene I could add in the planning session of Jesus getting a twinkle in His eye and saying They should not only create mankind, but that He could enter into history as a man. Not the first one. No, it would be better to long foretell of His coming, get the people desiring His coming, let the anticipation build to a fever pitch, and then surprise everyone by showing up in a very normal way, specially announced of course.
And here we see Jesus in the gospels, a baby, lying in a manger. Fully God become also fully man. Without sin. Desiring to be held, cherished, protected, joyed-over, fed, cleaned, raised, and loved. Truly Mary was blessed among women, to be the one who held Jesus, cherished Him, joyed-over Him, fed Him (nursing God?!), raised Him, and loved Him.
And it hit me. He desires that we would protect Him. He desires that we would cherish Him enough to protect Him. And that is when I got a glimpse of what holiness is. Just an angle. And here it is: one angle of holiness is love. A love that cherishes and protects. A love that sweeps away sin and death and destruction to protect the baby in your arms.
One description, one angle of His love for us is as a mother holding a new baby in her arms. He cherishes us, sweeping away sin and death and destruction to protect us.
And He wants us to do the same for Him! Even as a mother is transformed by the baby in her arms, He wants us to be transformed and sweep away our sin, deny death and destruction, out of love for Him.
We cannot do it in our own will. Many have made themselves agonizingly miserable trying. It is by grace, not works, lest any man would boast. In love there is no room for pride. He must give us the grace to be able to do it; we must open up to Him to receive the grace.
Thus He came to give us life, and life more abundantly. He came as a baby desiring to be loved and grew into the perfect sinless man desiring to be loved, and because we could not love Him how He wants He came to be the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. Thus He endured the cross, despising its shame, for the joy set before Him! The joy of those who say, “I love You, Jesus!” The joy of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The joy of the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.
Jesus came for the joy set before Him. The joy of you saying to Him, “I love You, Jesus!”
Love produces obedience. Faith produces works. Do you love Jesus as a mother does her baby, enough to cherish Him? Enough to let Him cleanse you of sin and death and destruction to properly love Him? Enough to join Him seated at the right hand of the Father, having your priorities changed to see things from the Father’s eternal view and be motivated by the Father’s heart? Enough to say, “My corrupt nature must die because Jesus should not be touched by sin. I will pick up my cross, die daily, and follow You, Jesus, because You are worthy of the best I can give, the best I can be!”
And He will joy over you, laugh with utter delight, and with a twinkle in His eye draw you deeper into His heart, into depths of love and holiness and glory we do not yet know exist! Because there is no sin there. We start the process now to get rid of sin, and He is faithful to complete the process.
Do you love Him enough to model Christ and the Bride? Husband, love your wife as Christ loves the Church, His Bride; He gave His life for her. Wife, reverence your husband as you do Christ. Your spouse is the first place where the rubber meets the road and you will either follow Jesus’ example or not. Do it! It is worth it! Jesus is worthy!
May the love of Jesus overwhelm you this Christmas! May you truly cherish Him! May your life be transformed by His love! May your marriage bloom with His love!