Virgin Birth. [Smirk goes here.]
We think we are so wise to scoff at a fairy tale and hoot at the simplicity of a gullible people who would accept the premise of a virgin birth; as though in Biblical times there was no such thing as a cynic; no winking, clucking crones who knew better than be taken in by that ruse. Or, as is more likely, we’d like to conveniently forget that in those times even disobedient children were stoned to death, so greatly did fear rule the hearts of men.
We live in a day where we can now easily witness a real stoning on our iPhone if we choose: A real woman. Solid stones. Yielding bones. For us, a horrible snuff film. For the zealous of Islam, a righteous lesson and stern warning to the unbeliever.
Such zealots fear Christmas for their own reasons. I’m more interested in why we do, too. We’re not afraid to recite the story in the safe surroundings of the adjunct scenery: makeshift stables and glittering cardboard stars made by neighbors and friends, whose children giggle at Harold Angels.
But we don’t really, really want to contemplate what it means to believe it. What it costs. It’s bothersome. Maybe to ourselves, our own sense of tradition and sentiment we’ll admit a smattering of transcendent notions about some one, or some idea, or angels, and light feelings, and—
But not really, really. . . not. . . well, really? A virgin birth?
It’s so stupid. A virgin birth. *snort!*
Half a world and not so far away, angry, cowardly Islamic men stone women so that they can uphold the darker fairy tales of their own goodness and purity. But we all have attempted something similar in thought if not in deed. In some way, it’s a story as old as life itself: the shifting of blame, the shedding of blood, the scapegoat of our fears sent from our camp of awful reality– and so we are made good again. A fractured fairy tale of life as we seek a way out and up.
We live in a world of elites who tell us far grander fairy tales about ourselves, and we, being so wise in our fear of being stupid, we’ll follow any star as long as we don’t have to leave the couch. Vague comfort and diaphanous joy is all we seek. No need to saddle up and risk everything for more than that.
I’m curious. Is there some dark harm in believing in a virgin birth at that time, in that place, in those inconvenient circumstances? In believing in such a thing, am I inspired to fear and loathing, or might I share in an utterly unlikely miracle that makes me doubt my own goodness– and to look up for answers instead of around for a stone?
So, did a young girl, paralyzed with fear, have nothing to lose by telling a stupid lie? Or did she give birth to Life while under the shadow of death? What man of Joseph’s day would stand with such a woman, and not take up a stone, but instead take a wife?
I mean, c’mon, really?
Yes, really. It’s all Good.