Out of barrenness Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, Samson, and John the Baptist were birthed. Barren parents were not only given the temporal joy of a baby in their womb, but the eternal joy that their sons would forever be recognized as men who loved the Lord. These men were part of the story leading to the crux of civilization, which was Christ entering our fallen earth in the virgin womb of a young girl named Mary. The Lord is pleased to bring life where it is inconceivable for life to be.
Instead of life, death and greed are found in the stories of Satan and Adam. Satan’s heart was lifted up because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17) and he made the audacious claim that he would make himself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). In a similar vein, Adam took part in the fruit which was claimed to make him like God. The consequence of Adam’s sin was and continues to be physical and spiritual death for all of mankind. The sin found in every human heart (manifested in both the glutton and sententious) demarcates life and death. With creation’s history of greed and death, how can there be life when the human heart is disposed to sin?
The remedy stands in stark contrast to Satan and Adam. Satan and Adam’s pride without basis, their vainglory, resulted in death. Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, who had everything to lose, did the exact opposite. We are told that He, “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6).” Thus, our Lord and Savior was born, wrapped in cloths, and laid in a manger with the ultimate purpose of death on a cross. The Magi bore witness of this in the gifts they presented – gold for His divinity, frankincense representing His holy sacrifice, and myrrh for the suffering He would endure. Christ’s emptying out resulted in his exaltation, and God bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.
Lest we think that Satan and Adam’s vainglory is a “them” problem and not a “me” problem, we’ve missed the point. Their pride is our pride, which claims any one of numerous lies such as “there is no God,” “mankind can reach God through their own good work,” or “we can one day achieve godhood ourselves.” There is no good work man can produce apart from Christ. This truth baffles us because we do not trust that God can bring life from death. Spiritual birth was seemingly impossible to Nicodemus too, who visited with Jesus one night. Yet Christ tells him, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” While the humanity of Jesus was secretly knit in Mary’s womb, the invisible Holy Spirit does His work in those who come to faith in Christ.
Paul describes the fertility of Abraham and Sarah as being as good as dead, but Abraham trusted God’s promise to him and it was credited to him as righteousness. This was written not only for his sake but for ours as well. While opening gifts, feasting, and making merry, remember the baby in the crèche does not remain there, He would grow into a man who would be delivered over because of our transgressions and would be raised because of our justification. “Truly truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24).”