Well now that Thanksgiving is over, we are officially into the Christmas season. Of course, working in retail I've been experiencing the Christmas season since September. I'm glad that everyone else is now catching up.
I don't make many blog posts, but I wanted to share something that occurred to me a few days ago as I was thinking about Christmas. I was making my hour commute to work and reflecting on all the activity that Christmas brings to retail and the real reason that we as Christians celebrate the holiday. My mind went to a picture of a Willow Tree nativity that we keep on top of our entertainment center year-round. As I'm passing it, I often like to look at the baby Jesus in Mary's arms and remember how God left many of the privileges of Godhood and humbled himself by entering into the form of a baby. I realize that I've always thought of the beginning of the incarnation in that way: that in a moment in time, God left his throne for a manger.
What occurred to me that morning is that the real beginning of the incarnation didn't happen on Christmas. God didn't enter into humanity on Christmas morning as a baby, he entered it nine months earlier as a human embryo. Matthew 1:18 says that before Mary and Joseph came together, she was "found to be with child through the Holy Spirit." Two verses later, God tells Joseph that "what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." That's Biblical grounds for the existence of life at conception right there, that God equates "what is conceived" to being a child. Doesn't that make the incarnation all the more amazing? Jesus goes from ruling the world in Heaven with his Father and the Holy Spirit and enters into the smallest, most dependent, most microscopic form of human life. I've always known that Jesus has a heart for all unborn children, including those who are frozen as embryos. How much more do I know that now, realizing that the same Saviour who submitted himself to death on a cross for my sake, first submitted himself to a womb.
Even more special to embryo adoption is the fact that this could have been exactly what Mary and Joseph did. Not to get too technical, but we know that Jesus' conception was not of result of Joseph's or any man's sperm. We don't know if the Holy Spirit brought about Jesus' conception by using one of Mary's eggs or if Jesus was conceived as one cell without an egg at all. The latter however, is certainly a possibility and if it true, it means that Mary carried and adopted with Joseph a child who was not biologically related to them. If this happened, then the first embryo adoption happened over 2,000 years ago.
Again, we don't know the specifics of how the Holy Spirit brought about the incarnation, but even if Mary's egg had been used, Joseph adopted a child that his wife carried who was not biologically related to him. We can know for sure that the wonderful truth of the Christmas story includes a couple's commitment to adopt a baby before birth. I know all the more that it is God's desire that all embryo's get a chance at birth. I know this because Jesus was once one.