After months of feeling something growing inside me, watching my body transform and my emotions change, all the shopping for clothes, nappies and equipment suddenly, ready or not, it was time for me to meet her. Earlier than had been predicted and outside of my control I participated in labour and our daughter was born. Life broke forth and in the delivery suite my husband and I looked at this wrinkled blue baby and watched , so aware that God was present breathing life into her. Our life wasn’t going to be the same again. Babies do that. an overwhelming love surfaces and they challenge our selfishness as we learn to prioritise their needs and wants above our own. We willing let our home, relationships and body bent to a new life amongst us. We enjoyed getting to know this new personality as it blossomed before us.
And here we are 22 years later celebrating her birthday today. Well not really, she’s not keen on birthday cards and presents and doesn’t want the fuss. We’ve watched her let her little sister open all her presents and indulged the youngest one’s excitement at the presents Rachel has received.
I can’t help thinking this is all a bit of a picture today for me. The Divine Life took on human flesh to be amongst us. I looked for a Saviour and expected Him but He didn’t arrive  when i thought but burst in  anyway, I didn’t cause Him to grow I received Him: it just happened as I waited. A Holy Disruption changing everything around me. I’ve been challenged by His desires to change and put Him first. Much of what i wanted doesn’t do me any good anyway and I’ve discovered that as I lean not on my understanding but acknowledge and welcome His then His Life blossoms more. The hope of His kingdom here on earth manifests and becoming tangible. The Life is felt within and seen without. I’ve discovered that it’s not the child that needs me to nurture and sustain Him but that He brings Life to me. A new birth and a new life that bears so much hope and expectance as it develops. That it happens as I watch and take part in it, that my joy is multiplied in what He accomplishes.
It’s been difficult for us all not to spoilt Rachel for her birthday, to lavish presents and surprises on her but I can’t help thinking either that Jesus must feel a little like she does with all our preparation and gift wrapping for His birthday. All the fuss  we make for this immanent festival, how ever much we try to make Him centre, deflects that He came to give US gifts and for us simply to enjoy LIFE together with Him. The Divine Life became flesh to show us how to be fully human. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke describe Jesus birth but John introduces it differently. He doesn’t write about the physically birth but writes about the spiritual birth.  He tells us how Jesus was with God in the beginning but  the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and if we receive Him we will see His glory But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. Isn’t that a wonderful gift?

hopeSo that’s how we will spent the next few days We will welcome the New life that Jesus offers. We receive Him to make His Life fresh and wait again for the unexpected ways that His personality will develop amongst us. We want to say thank you to Him for His gifts that He shares with us because He gives us the best ones!  We want the Life within to be manifest without because this baby was born to give us HOPE and LIFE. It’s in the receiving that we participate in the glorious gift that He is to us and see His GLORY

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