Spirit of Advent – Day 14

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.  
Luke 1:31-33

Luke did not write his account of the events of Jesus' birth in a vacuum.  He looked back at everything through the cross.  On a trip that my wife and I took to the Mediterranean a couple of years ago, we visited several Orthodox churches.  The walls and ceilings of these churches were covered with ancient frescoes. One of them depicted Mary sitting by her baby's cradle.  The cradle was shaped in the form of a sarcophagus, or burial casket, and the swaddling clothes looked like a funeral shroud.  I will not be sending out Christmas cards with that frescoe on the front! 

But the idea behind this frescoe seems like a true one.  What God did at Jesus' birth was no different in meaning than what God did at Jesus' death.  God is able to create new possibilities out of what seem to be impossibilities.  The impossibility of God's incarnation in the form of a baby.  The impossibility of a life lived as if God's kingdom had already come.  The impossibility of a death that signifies a kingdom to which there will be no end.  A cradle that is a sarchophagus that is a throne.  All held together by vulnerable love.