IMG_9482Childbirth is messy. I have had the privilege to observe one, the birth of my son Andrew. It’s seventeen years ago now but you never forget the sights, the smells the sounds… It’s messy. Then you see the top of the child’s head. Next thing you know the new life emerges. Any man who has the opportunity to witness the birth of a child comes away with fresh respect for mothers and for women. But it is messy.

As we celebrate another Christmas, we remember afresh that the Lord of the universe allowed Himself to be subjected to the messiness of human birth when He entered into the mess that is humanity.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. (Philippians 2:5-7 NLT)

I can’t imagine what childbirth was like before the advent of modern anaesthesia. I can’t imagine the bacterial count in the manger. What I know is that two thousand years ago, Word became flesh. The Lord of the universe entered human history. And we know why He came.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his gone and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17 NLT)

He came because we were in a mess. Humankind thought they could make a life apart from God and made a mess of everything. And we were powerless to clear it up though we tried and tried. In the words of Holy Writ, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5: 6 NLT).

Remembering this we find hope and courage this messy Christmas. The world is in a mess. Our lives are in a mess. We scramble to clear our messes but nothing seems to work. And then we remember that the only one who can clear our mess has come and has already begun His healing work. And so this Christmas we can look at the mess. Or we can look at the new life emerging. And place our faith afresh in the Christ who came and died and rose again and who will soon return.

And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. (Matthew 24:6-8 NLT)

Birth is messy.