The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you;
for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God
Luke 1: 35.
The virgin-birth is an underlying assumption in all God's revelation to us says about Jesus. To throw out the virgin birth is to reject the divinity of Christ, the accuracy and authority of Scripture, the on-going teaching of the Bride and Body of Christ, and a host of other related doctrines that are the heart of Orthodoxy. No issue is more important than the virgin birth and its implications to our understanding of who Jesus is. If we deny that Jesus is God, we deny the very essence of Christianity. Everything else taught and understood about Christ is predicated on the truth celebrated on the glorious feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. That is how much our God thinks of us, his creation, that He in his Son takes upon himself our humanity, totally and completely except for sin. That is how loftily He holds and respects us in his sight that we are worthy of salvation and redemption because the Son of God becomes true man. If the story of his Nativity in the flesh is merely a fabricated or trumped up legend as we hear increasingly in today's perilous world, then the rest of God's revelation to us cannot be trusted. The virgin birth is about as crucial as the Resurrection in substantiating the divinity of Christ. It is not optional truth for anyone who rejects Christ's divinity also rejects Christ absolutely, even if he pretends otherwise.
Why is it that this miraculous sign is so difficult for some to believe? Why do we enjoy limiting our God? Why do we not permit our God to be God? Why do some reject God truth and espouse instead a completely humanized, secularized understanding of the celebration of the birth in the flesh of the Son of God? Why does man think he must reduce the truth to mere personal opinion and so relate to this glorious feast as simply a good time for celebrating? Why is it so difficult to understand that the Lord who formed us from the dust of the earth and breathed into our nostrils the immortal breathe of life, could impregnate one of his chosen choice creation to form a human person in which the Holy Spirit would reside. The power of God is not unreasonable to any thinking person.
What would be far more difficult to believe would be that any ordinary man, conceived and born as we all are in sin, could possibly be divine in any sense. The virgin birth is the most important and creative way for God to enter our world.
“...and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is translated, ‘God is with us’”. Matthew 1: 23. One of the most debilitating emotions is loneliness. That is why one of the most comforting names given us for the Lord is Emmanuel, God is with us. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because of the indwelling Christ believers are never separated from his permanent presence. We are in Christ and He is in us. What an encouragement we have in celebrating seriously the feast of the Nativity of our Lord. What a comfort! What an assurance! We always have his shoulder to lean on, the broad shoulders of Emmanuel. We always have someone to listen to our heartache, our constant companion and devoted friend, Jesus Christ.
We cannot permit the adversary, and accuser rob us of the peace and joy that come from experiencing and enjoying the sweet presence of our God. No sin, no deed, no trial can ever diminish the full presence and acceptance of Christ once we have become his children through faith by Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharistic life. The same devil who filled the person of Herod and caused him to hunt down the Holy Innocents in order to find the newborn God Is With Us, should not be permitted a place in our lives. He should have no success as we pilgrimage toward Bethlehem. God is with us; God is for us; who can be against us? His presence should fill any and all voids within us.
How fitting that the name Emmanuel provides us with affirmation that Jesus, the Infant of Bethlehem, from the beginning of time is God's desire for us. The very first book of God's revelation to us tells of our heavenly Father walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. “...the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day... among the trees of the garden. The Lord God then called to the man...” Genesis 3: 8. Then sin separated the first man and woman from him. So our God sends his Son Jesus Christ as the ultimate us and with us.
Our Creator always wants to share our lives, his choice creation and desires to be invited into our hearts. So we are called upon to make of our hearts and souls worthy mangers into which the Christ Child can come. He literally wants to enjoy our families and be enthroned in our homes and daily living. When others leave or reject us, He will remain. When we are angry with him, He will not turn away. We go through nothing alone. Unquestionably, God Is With Us!
God is with us in our doubts, in our confusion, in our darkness. This is always his plan, to be with us. How do we respond to this message of enduring love is to be discovered and live as we advance in pilgrimage toward the Bethlehem cave?