Advent, Day 27: Conception

Today’s reading: Matthew 1:18-25

We believe that the Christmas event–the pregnancy of a young woman, the angels’ assurances, the Bethlehem road, the God With Us born into human flesh–was a singular, unique event in history.
But so much resonates with me from a Bible story like today’s… I wonder if perhaps the Christmas story has to do with me, and with us, in ways we don’t usually consider. The focus of this season is on the miracles and wonders of the incarnation, and rightly so. But the thoughts that I notice, rising to the surface of my mind and heart as I consider the characters and plot and conflicts of the occasion, have less to do with heady theology and more to do with the life that God may be conceiving in me.
Maybe we can even entertain the possibility that God’s being born into our world is lived out in us every day: perhaps there are ways that we, like Joseph, are called to set aside our concerns about “public disgrace” and follow Love’s way on a path we could not possibly have foreseen.
Perhaps we need to pay more attention to our dreams, for ourselves, for our children, for those we love.
Perhaps we need to believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, bringing to birth new ideas, new vocations, new hopes, new worlds.
I am convinced we often miss God’s presence With Us because we routinely look for him in the wrong places–on thrones, on capitol hills, in CEO’s offices, even behind pulpits. Maybe this Christmas reminds us that we need to be paying more attention to the world’s mangers. And maybe we simply need to be reminded that we need to make sure we are putting ourselves in the places where God is at work.
And maybe, finally, we need to wake up. We need to wake up from the fantasy that our culture tends to promote as “normal” and “real.” And maybe, with eyes wide open, we’ll finally be able to trust God’s leading down a road that takes us deep into a life of strange encounters, starry nights, and sacred moments–a road that leads us home.

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