It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s that time when we get together with our crazy families, celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, and unavoidably discuss hot topics with our conservative grandparents. Hooray!
I think I’d probably pay someone actual dollars to ensure that the Duck Dynasty discussion doesn’t happen, but it will. Someone in my family will inevitably bring up the whole “rights infringement” thing, and I will sit quietly, trying to think of everything I love about my family instead of explaining the basic principles of our governmental system. I will bite my tongue, and not remind them that Phil Robertson was not imprisoned, charged, or fined by the government in any way. I will not explain that in the business world, employers are allowed to rebuke their employees for representing their business in an unfavorable manner. I will not say any of those things because I’m just tired of the “debate.” Because this debate is not really about freedom of speech. It was never really about that. It has always been about the discussion of sexuality within the church. I don’t think this discussion will ever end.
It seems as though the Western Church is obsessed with sex, but not really in a fun way– in a pretty damaging way. Whether we’re talking about homosexuality, premarital sex, sexual education, or sexual health, it always seems to me like we’re terrified of sex. I’m not going to tell you how to feel about sex. I’m just gonna tell you why I think it is regarded in the way that it is, which brings me back to Christmas.
So we got the Bible, right? Start in Genesis, go alllllll the way through the Old Testament. Pay special attention to Leviticus, unless of course it’s talking about eating pork or something. Let’s just go ahead and completely skip over Song of Songs because we’ve already decided sex is evil, or that it just makes us uncomfortable, rather. Moving along….New Testament. LUKE. Okay. Here’s where stuff gets really good, cause Jesus is coming. I’ll give you the skinny: Angel tells Mary her eggo is preggo, and she’s all like “Whaaaaaaaa?” cause she’s engaged to Joseph, and she’s a virgin, so it’s pretty impossible, right? So surely she’s scared out of her mind, and people probably don’t believe her, but she’s like “I’m down. Lehh go.” So they hop on a donkey because of this census thing, and when in Bethlehem, it becomes apparent that the Son of God would like to make an appearance. So they try to stay in this inn, but there’s no room. So the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords is born in this stable (which was probably more like a cave thing). Err’body got real excited (and by err’body I mean some shepherds and a few kings), as they should have, and people came with gifts. And God’s plan to save the world was officially in action. Whoooooo! And then there’s the rest of the Bible. It’s really good stuff, and I recommend checking it out. Especially Romans. It’s my fave.
So here’s my observation about the story of the birth of Jesus. I feel like a lot of people stop listening when they hear the word virgin. I think that word is somehow what gets magnified for some people. The only way I know how to explain it is when a teacher is trying to explain some concept or read something to the class, and he/she says the word “penetrate.” I immediately think of Fat Amy (“Not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate.”), and I officially am incapable of listening to anything else because I have the mind of a twelve year old boy. It doesn’t matter what else I was supposed to learn in class that day, no more information is going to penetrate my mind because the word penetrate completely took over. I feel like some Christians think the fact that Mary was a virgin was the whole point of the story. That was their takeaway. They stopped listening after that. And that’s really sad for several reasons.
Most importantly, the point of the story was not that Mary was a virgin. The point of the story was that God can do the impossible. The point of the story was that Jesus is the Son of God, and he was coming to change everything.
Now Mary is certainly to be revered. She had to be pretty great. But knowing what I know about God, I am gonna choose to believe that there were a billion of reasons other than her virginity as to why she was chosen. It’s as if someone got the idea that God’s choice to impregnate a virgin was a deliberate statement about sex. You see, God’s choice to impregnate a virgin was certainly a deliberate statement, but it was a statement about love– the kind that is impossible to comprehend.
And isn’t that the way of the world? To try to interchange those words, sex and love, until we’re swimming in tears of confusion? Wouldn’t it be nice if those words meant the same thing? But they just don’t. Not on this Earth. Not even when Mary was a teenager. And not anymore.
I believe that the author of confusion has taken a single word, virgin, and used it to distract us from making God’s impossible love the hot topic of discussion. Instead of concerning ourselves with the conditions of people’s hearts, we tend to concern ourselves with their genitals. Which is kind of gross, not because sex is a bad thing, but because it’s really not our business. But here comes the author of confusion, setting the scene for public figures to be asked about their opinions regarding sexuality because it will surely lead to conflict. And all talk of love bounces off the wall that was built when our minds honed in on the talk of sex. Because we’re twelve year old boys. We’re not hearing anything else.
But it was never supposed to be about that.
“‘For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”