Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Maybe a little EW isn't so bad with your Yule

 I had to explain this concept  of the virgin birth to a seventh grade boy last week. It's hard to put into words the what and the why, and of course his response was "EW", just like Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show character, Sarah. Who could blame him, it is weird and gross this concept of Spirit pregnancy and a barn birth. It is awful, really when we stop and contemplate the details, yet it's result was something so beautiful, so miraculous, so life changing. We want things in our lives, to be so orderly, comfortable and hassle free, yet reality is, life is far from those things, our holidays are far from those things. It's in the midst of the yuck though, that God shines through the brightest. He can take even the most broken of situations and fix it in fantastic ways, all be it with some EW along the way.

There was a lot of EW for Mary. So much EW. She ran the risk of being stoned, rejected, having to turn to begging or prostitution to support herself and her baby, when she signed on for this. Her response though was, let it be so. God delivered her from that fate, and Joseph married her, but her EW times were not over, she had to deliver in the midst of animals and poop. This was God's favored woman! Yet she had to endure hardship, shame, loss of the life she probably dreamed of and all so she could deliver in a barn. How is this possible? Because of her faithfulness, because of her willingness to trust that God could bring her through the brokenness, we have Jesus.

Our God who loves us unconditionally, who shed heaven for the hurts of earth, so he could be here for us, came from EW. He came from EW, so he could take our EW and turn it into something more beautiful, more lovely than we ever thought possible.

We read that Mary treasured that birth experience and the first visitors in her heart. Did she at times, probably wish that it hadn't happened that way. I would bet so. Yet she was able to treasure some of the outcomes in her heart. God's amazing Christmas love of baby Jesus is redemptive, it takes the EW and makes it awesome.

As we tread through our own baby adventure with surrogacy, there is a lot of EW. The family we are serving has walked through an ugly road of cancer and loss. They have endured more than good people ever should have to. In small ways, it's EW for us too and it's just beginning. There are shots, and medications and tests, and there will be lots more grossness down the road. Yet, there is something so cool happening, as our two families combine, hopefully a baby will grow, but a friendship is already growing. Our family is already extending, even though my belly is not yet. Yes, we would rather the mother, get to nurture her baby to birth, but even in the midst of that loss, something good is coming. God is turning EW into opportunity, as only he can.

Often we want our Christmas season to be perfect, tidy and lovely, but always there is EW. It's okay, EW happens, but God is all over it. He takes the EW, and through it he changes us, he changes the world. After all, what's more EW than childbirth in a barn, but that turned out pretty good for me and you! Hopefully we can see, the nativity in the midst of EW , and have some peace, that as awful as it may be, it can be an opportunity for redemption, miracles and mischief even, that we never saw coming. It may not lessen the loss or the pain, but maybe it can bring anticipation instead of anxiety and hope instead of despair.

Here is Mary's amazing response, pre barn birth, but probably before she knew her life would be spared and Joseph would marry her in her knocked up state:

Luke 1:46-55The Message (MSG)

46-55 And Mary said,
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.

May we all be so hopeful, thankful and full of anticipation in the midst of our EW