As fall fades into winter the sometimes cloudy, gloomy days are the best kind of weather for curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. I recently indulged in Francine Rivers’ “A Lineage of Grace” series of five novellas, each portraying a fictional perspective based on the biblical accounts of the five women named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Besides the fact that Francine Rivers is an amazing author, it was beautiful to read this book and ponder upon the reality that these five women were real women who faced real issues in their day. In the midst of the messiness of life, they played a seemingly small yet significant part in bringing forth the Messiah.
But most of all, the novella about Mary was my favorite. Although the major events are formed around the narrative written in the gospels, Rivers took some creative liberty to imagine what it would have been like to raise Jesus as a baby, child, teenager, and young adult. He truly was the fullness of God and man in one human frame without sin. What would it have been like to interact with Him, fully God yet fully man, perfect yet so real?
This quote from the book captured it so beautifully (p. 527) –
“Jesus, born in darkness, was the Light of the World. He, the Bread of Life, had known hunger. The Living Water had known thirst. He had been misunderstood, sold for thirty pieces of silver, rejected by all, and crucified, and now he stood before the throne of God as the advocate of all those who believed in him.”
The greatest gift God has given mankind is Jesus. But when we think more deeply about this profound truth, we realize that God gave us the gift of knowing that although He is God, He intimately understands what it is like to be human.
He knows what it is like to lose a parent.
He knows what it is like to be the head of the household upon a father’s death.
He knows what it is like to work to put bread on the table.
He knows what it is like to have close friends and family members who don’t believe in you.
He knows what it is like to have siblings and all the dynamics that come with that.
He knows what it is like to be loved and betrayed by the same person.
Imagine the humility of the One who had been a part of creating the first man from dust, learning from a man how to use His hands to fashion wood into furniture and utensils.
Although Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, He still had some of Mary’s genes. Perhaps He had her cheekbones. Imagine. Jesus, the Son of God, having the cheekbones of a poor, lowly Jewish girl.
This Christmas season, in the midst of all the holiday merriment, may we together remember that we have already been given the greatest gift of all. God did the unthinkable by clothing Himself in flesh, becoming one of us so that we could know the extent of true love.
May you and your family be blessed with this simple, beautiful truth this holiday season.
Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.