Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Immaculate Conception and the Not-So-Immaculate Rest of the Story

After a Christmas Day that began with a glorious sunrise and a peacefully sleeping baby, ended with a major diaper blowout, and had an hour-long screaming baby session in an enclosed space somewhere in the middle, it occurs to me that the latter half of my day was probably closer to the original Christmas Day experience than the former.

The Virgin Mary’s pregnancy with the Christ Child is referred to as the “Immaculate Conception,” but I rather suspect that the delivery was not so immaculate. Think about it: a woman giving birth in a barn, with no doctor, no midwife, no epidural (God forbid!), not even any electricity or hot water. Sterile conditions, they were not. And once the baby arrived, there were no diapers, no baby wipes, and no washing machine. The baby was wrapped in bits of cloth – no rubber pants to prevent “blowouts” and no soap to clean up when they inevitably happened. This birth was undoubtedly, decidedly, maculate.

Christmas Day, to me, is a time to reflect on the absolute humanity of Christ. The Bible teaches that the Savior is both fully God and fully human, and that can be a difficult concept to understand. As an adult, His miracles reflect his deity, and His resurrection is the ultimate proof of His deity. But His birth is as human – as earthy, as dirty, as animalistic – as I can conceive. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself...” The phrase “He humbled himself” is very accurate when you think about His birth. How much humbler a situation can there be than being born in a barn full of animal smells and dirty straw?

So I am thankful for today’s diaper blowout, because it reminded me that the Christ Child was not only God, but also human, just like me. And just as maculate.

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