“I’m pregnant.” My sister held back from screaming in my ear.
Holding the phone and grinning from ear to ear, I talked excitedly about my new niece or nephew. “What are you going to name the baby? Are you excited? Is Ethan excited to be a dad? Oh my word, I’m an aunt!”
And we blabbered on and on about this new life.
As I watched my sister’s stomach grow with her first baby, I was overwhelmed by excitement and wonder. There are many thrills in life. There’s a thrill when your stomach rushes to your chest on a rollercoaster. There’s a horrible thrill of adrenaline when bullets are flying and comrades are dropping around you in the heat of battle. There’s a thrill when your heart patters with love. But there are few thrills as pure, as innocent, and as beautiful as the thrill of a new life. It makes me wonder if that is why Jesus came as a baby.
Imagine a knight with a blood-stained lance, riding off into the horizon. Battle can be thrilling and heroic, but it is haunted with pain and agony—the pain of seeing loved ones die and innocent children slaughtered. Imagine a king robed in purple with a golden crown etched in gems. It sounds beautiful, but what if such a king came to America and tried to take over the country, shouting, “I’ll save you from your sins.” Sounds threatening.
Now imagine a tiny newborn baby boy whose soft cheeks are still pink and whose eyes are too tired to open. Imagine him wrapped in cloth, lying in a drafty barn where the farmer puts the fodder for the cows. Is it threatening? Is it painful? No, it’s exciting and pure and beautiful. There is no blood to taint it, there’s no power to corrupt it, there’s no scandal to defame it. It is a mother and a father staring at the face of the virgin’s innocent child—the face of God.
As I sat in a folding chair at church, pondering the beauty of God’s first impression on the world, I ran my finger around the little plastic cup that held the representation of this baby’s blood. This baby came to the earth innocent and pure, untainted by any accusation, and I drove nails into his hand’s and feet. This God-child grew into a man and redeemed me.
God’s entry on earth is so beautiful I want to share it with the world. But I cannot help but think that to do so, I must learn to make my first impression as innocent and beautiful as His.