A Post-Patriarchal Christmas
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”
I came to see the stories of the virgin birth less as facts to be debated in a literal sense and more as signs or mysteries to be pondered in a literary sense. Their greatest value isn’t in proving something but in meaning something. And what could that meaning be?
May we dare to side with Mary who dares to believe that peace can come not by taking life but by giving birth.
In your opinion, what is the meaning of the virgin birth?
What does it look like for peace to come into our world today?
This episode was written and recorded by Brian McLaren. It was produced by Jim Keat. Background tracks include Relenquish, Skeptic, and Rude Boy by Podington Bear and I’ll Miss You by Will Bangs.
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