The Virgin

The miraculous conceptions of Elizabeth and Mary were similar in that they both had to do with child bearing, yet there is an important distinction. Redemptive history records the blessing of God upon the barren Sarah and the barren Hannah, but both of these women conceived in the good old fashioned way. Mary is the only woman in history who conceived as a virgin, and not being a simpleton, she knew enough to ask “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 

Gabriel, Luke 1:35

There is something of creation ex nihilo in this statement. An echo of Genesis 1 where the Spirit of God is hovering over the waters. The conception of children to the barren is a restoration of that which would have been had the world not been plunged into sin. But the virgin conception is a new creative act of the Trinity. In the original creation, the Son is the expression (or Word) of the Father as the Spirit animates that which is brought forth. But in the virgin birth, the Son Himself enters into creation supernaturally through the work of the Father and the Spirit. The product of their labors is a holy thing who will be called the Son of God.

Here there are no words in any known language that could be arranged in such a way that a doctrinal statement or a creed could fully express the miracle. The journey of the Eternal Son into His creation is the longest journey ever undertaken. Should we undertake a voyage to travel from galaxy to galaxy, we could not compare to the distance the Very God of Very God traveled to be become the Son of Man.

Like a Wallenda high above the earth, we walk the tightrope of maintaining the holiness of deity while embracing the full humanity of Jesus. Anyone who thinks they understand it merely exposes their ignorance. Like Mary, we ask “How can this be?” Is there anything more mysterious that the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us?

But another question we might (and should) ask is “Why should this be?” And the answer to that is Love. Purely gratuitous and entirely unearned. Mankind is loved by God with the kind of love of which we ourselves are incapable of giving until having received. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. The Christmas miracle is the first historical enactment of that sentiment. And because God loved, He found a way.

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