Mercy and Mystery

Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught. Luke 1:2-4 The Message

What's your birth narrative?

Where were you born? What is the story of your parents and ancestors? What was going on in the world the day you took your first breath and your tiny fists railed against the reality of newfound freedom from your mother's womb? Who visited you and what gifts did they bring? Did the men smoke cigars in the waiting room or the women boil sheets? Were you born in a taxi cab on the way to the hospital? Is your birth story somewhat obscure and details missing?

Babies are born all around the world every day. The birth process is basically the same for everyone. Some are born in hospitals or palaces. Other babies are born in garbage dumps, refugee camps or behind the corner supermarket. The process of becoming is evidence God still has faith in us whether in wealth or poverty. Birth stories are evidence of the miraculous.  Even the worst sci-fi movie cannot diminish the truth of what is required for a human baby to come into our world.

What this child is to become is a different matter altogether.

Birth and journey narratives are deeply personal. No two are alike. Luke's gospel included a careful investigation so we have an accurate account of the story of Jesus.  Simeon's prophetic pronouncement would be fulfilled as many would fall and rise in his name. The birth and journey narrative of Jesus Christ continues be laundered with personal narratives. Every ethnic group, in any language can write an introduction that includes a spiritual birth narrative where grace and truth defy narratives of darkness and save souls from eternal separation from God. Personal epic journey narratives often include episodes of temptation, tests and trials. Parables and teaching moments are revealed in retrospect as plotlines are infused toward the ever-expanding grander vision.  Individuals can belong to something greater than a defined people group or geographic location. As their story unfolds, people will find deep significance to their own story as it mingles with a narrative about a kingdom that has no end.

Christmas Eve is often when we hear a strange and drastic story. The stage is set. We anticipate hearing the story of a child born in a Bethlehem stable to unwed parents.  He is to become the human rescuer. He is the Lion of Judah wrapped in swaddling cloth.  Mercy and mystery come together delivered in hopeful expectation that we might somehow be changed by the invasion of light into our dark world.

He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God.They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. John 1:11-13 CEV