I've been thinking over the Gospel lesson for this past Sunday. Several weeks ago, I participated in a "new expressions of church" conference call in which the question was asked: "How are you helping to give birth to something God is doing?" or something like that.
As I was mulling over that, I was directed to the following YouTube video, considering what it would be like if Joseph was on Facebook at the time of Jesus' birth:
As somewhat funny as this is, it also points to the fact that what God was bringing into the world was not something that was even thought of, and was fraught with danger. With two-thousand years of hindsight, we believe Mary was given the greatest gift of all--the opportunity to be theotokos, the "god-bearer." Mary's recorded reaction reinforces that belief, to a point. It also reminds us that even God's gifts come with some associated responsiblities.
2012 will be a year in which we discern what God is bringing into being, or giving birth to, and what we can do to help that process along, to "mid-wife" that process, as it were. While as a man I've never been pregnant, as a father I know the profound changes having children can make in one's life. The birth process is messy, painful, sometimes complex, involves considerable work (that's why they call it "labor"), and generally requires a group of people to help things along. And that's just birth! Actually raising a child requires a whole new set of skills, another group of people (remember "It Takes A Village"), and a long-term viewpoint.
As we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, may we be inspired to look for signs of new life and new birth in our own lives and at St. Edward's as well and prepare ourselves to mid-wife and guide that new life that God has for us.