Friday, 8 December 2017

Lo, He Abhors Not the Virgin's Womb

Lettering by @rach_forsyth 

God of God, Light of Light;
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb!
Very God, begotten not created!
O come let us adore him!

I have included the minimum amount of exclamation marks appropriate for this carol. The wonder of the incarnation is that Jesus who is God, who is Light, who is not a created being, who is in every way God does not regard Mary’s womb with hatred or disgust. In the words of Wesley (again!), He is pleased as man with man to dwell! He takes the nature of a servant and for the joy set before him is willing to submit to a womb- even though wombs were his idea in the first place!

So that he might be with us in our darkness, not only did he not reject the womb, but he also did not reject poverty, or danger, or becoming a refugee. He did not abhor weakness, he did not abhor rejection, he did not abhor violence, humiliation, shame, even death: he did not abhor the womb, and he did not abhor the cross. He was obedient to birth and obedient to death: Christ the Lord was born to us, lived for us, and died for us. He was given in our place.

And Jesus delights to do so.

He was willing to become flesh and make his dwelling among us. His becoming a servant was an act of joyful obedience to the Father: He wanted to come to redeem us, He wanted to take on our flesh, He wanted to save us from our sins. That’s why Hebrew says that it was for the joy set before him that he endured the cross, scorning its shame: he lay down his life of his own accord for my sake.

There is plenty about myself that I feel ashamed of. Some of it justified, some not.

But this carol reminds me: he is not ashamed to call me his. He did not reject the Virgin’s womb, because he would not reject me. He did what it took so that my redemption would be possible. He became obedient to death because my rescue, my reconciliation to the Father,  my redeemed heart would bring him joy.

As Hebrews so gloriously puts it:

“Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters… since we have flesh and blood, he too shared in our humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death.” (Hebrews 2)

He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters! He is not ashamed to have become man for our sake! He is not ashamed to share in our flesh and our blood- and then to have his broken and poured out for our redemption. And because of his incredible grace and power and redemptive mercy, He is not ashamed of me.

O Come, let us adore Him! Christ, the Lord!

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