Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Ugliest Virgin

The Cowart Family Christmas celebration resulted in the usual mayhem as we exchanged valuable gifts which no one should live without: an ice-skating moose that sings, antique cameos, a skeleton on a motorcycle, a statue of Gort (the robot from The Day The Earth Stood Still) pots and pans and perfumes. — all life’s essentials.

I received some odor-eater socks wrapped in bio-hazard packaging from Patricia’s lab — Is she hinting at something?

One of our customs at such get-togethers is to have a brief devotional thought after the feast. My daughter Jennifer asked me to prepare something special for this occasion.

I chose a meditation on a single word from the Christmas narrative: Swaddled.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger”.

I told the kids that while I had to check various dictionaries to find the meaning of the word Swaddle, I had actually done this for each one of them when they were babies.

So, to illustrate what it means to swaddle a baby, I put on a one-person play in which I draped a blue scarf over my head and stared as the Virgin Mary.

Some wag remarked that I was the ugliest virgin ever to appear in any nativity play anywhere.

Since I did not have a baby doll, a teddy bear played the part of Baby Jesus:

To set the stage for what happened on that first Christmas, we read the ancient prophesy of Isaiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”.

We scanned that passage in Philippians where Jesus is referred to as, “Being in the form of God … Equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took on Himself the form of a servant…and being found in the fashion of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.

Again, we looked at the passage in Colossians where Jesus is “The image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature… For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell…”

And Hebrews, where it says that Jesus is appointed heir of all things, the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His Person”

Heavy things to be said of a baby in a manger.

We all know that a manger is an animal food trough, it’s like saying Mary swaddled him and put him in a lage dog food bowl.

But what does it mean to swaddle?

That’s where things got wild.

Using an adjustable ironing board as a changing table, I demonstrated how to diaper a baby.

Not having any frankincense of myrrh handy, I used Old Spice aftershave. But I had plenty of Johnson’s Baby Powder and proceeded to cloud the air with the stuff as the baby bear kept trying to roll off the table.

Then I folded a diaper and pined it on — pricking myself only a few times.

The family rolled in the aisles laughing.

Once I finally got the bear diapered, I used my blue scarf as a baby blanket (Mary may have used a feed sack), then showed how to snuggly wrap a baby so the kid can’t wiggle out and fall on his head (Something that never happened to my six kids — or at least, not very often).

Here is the bear swaddled:

What are we to make of The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, Equal with God, The express Image of His Person, who yet comes as a helpless baby that needs to be changed and swaddled and nursed?

There’s a tendency to regard Jesus in either of two false ways:

We tend to see Him as a glow-in-the-dark magic charm, too divine to be approachable. Like in the old country/western song:

I don’t care if it rains or freezes
As long as I got my little plastic Jezus,
Up on the dashboard of ma car.

Or to see Him as just another guy who bugged the wrong people and got himself killed, a great teacher whose teaching live on in all good people.

Scripture allows neither heresy.

He is presented as fully God and fully human who came to earth for us and our salvation, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, who rose again on the third day and ascended back to where He came from and shall return again to judge the living and the dead.

The Lion Of The Tribe of Judah, The Alpha and Omega, The Bright and Morning Star. The Judge Of All The Earth Who does Right.

By becoming human, God raised all human activities into the realm of the sacred; whether changing a baby, changing a tire, changing a printer ribbon, changing the world, in Him we live and move and have our very being.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and The Father by Him”.

By His becoming fully human, Jesus is touched by the feeling of our infirmities; He was tempted in all points same as we are, yet without sin.

He knows from experience what we are going through.

Therefore, the Scripture says, “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.




All ours.

All because He descended to became a man.

One of the kids got a camcorder for Christmas and recorded my talk. They say they plan to edit the sound track and such and post it on You-Tube. If they get around to doing that, I’ll post a link.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:07 AM


At 2:18 PM, Blogger along the way said...

I would like to say something meaningful -- my hearts is full of it -- but it won't come out. Actually, you already said it. Thank you.


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