Friday, December 24, 2010

Born of the Virgin Mary

A few brief reflections on the theological significance of the virgin birth...

1. The virgin birth indicates a really new thing. The thing in question is of course the incarnation. There is a decisive break here with everything that has gone before, and the virgin birth is a signpost to point us to that. It is a biological break in the chain of human existence which points to a spiritual (and therefore fleshly - the two are not as opposite as we think) breaking in to human existence. Christmas is about newness.

2. The virgin birth indicates the incapacity of humanity. Our salvation is not a latent possibility within humanity as such. It is not as if we were just waiting for the right one of us to come along. Just as Mary cannot, as a virgin, conceive, so we as a race cannot bring forth our own salvation. Christmas is about our hopelessness.

3. The virgin birth is God's contradiction of our impossibility. Simple fact is, the Saviour was one of us; Mary did conceive. Not because she was given any special ability, or was in some way prepared for this, but because her impossibility was overcome by God's great possibility. Christmas is about God's 'yes', which triumphs even in the face of all our 'no's.
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