“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”
—Matthew 1:18 NIV
Today is the first day of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a time of expectancy of the coming of our Savior and reflection on the meaning of his birth.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was born to a virgin. Foretold in Isaiah 7:14 and fulfilled in Mary, the virgin birth is central in church history. In some segments of Christianity, the Virgin is one of the most important figures in their traditions and practices.
But when Mary, an unmarried young girl in a society that looked very unkindly upon premarital sex became pregnant, it was not inspiring but shameful.
Why would God choose for his Son to be born surrounded by speculation and shameful rumors? That doesn’t seem like the ideal set-up for Jesus to be accepted as Messiah.
Perhaps God did it to teach us something about why Jesus came in the first place.
Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us” (see Mt. 1:23). With us in our imperfection. With us in our failure. With us in the brokenness of life.
The Imperfect Nativity teaches us that God does his best work in less-than-ideal situations.
That is good news for imperfect people. People like you and me.
Here is a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: God of the Imperfect Nativity,
Breathe out: Make your home in me.