The Christ Carrier
About ten years ago I was both a new mom and a new therapist wandering in the desert that is known as Fresno, California.
I was desperately trying to figure out who I was in relationship to God as this new person I had become…as this mother self. I was completely blindsided by how this new adventure called parenthood had completely rocked my world.
That Johnson & Johnson commercial wasn’t kidding. Having a baby DOES change everything.
I needed a God who could relate to me as a mother. I read verses about God “mothering” us. I read everything I could get my hands on about the transition to motherhood.
And, I became fascinated with Mary.
My supervisor was this elderly gentleman who had once been a charismatic Catholic priest who had done missionary work in South America…until he got married and became a therapist. Somehow my interest in Mary came out in our supervision sessions. I was intrigued by the elevated place Mary was given in the Catholic Church. He let me borrow books and tapes so I could understand their theology.
I still remember being in our apartment explaining the beliefs to Jon when he stopped me and said: “Emily, you know she’s not God, right?”
“Of course I know that!” I snapped.
And, I did. Truly. Still, I think that somewhere in our fear of Catholicism we as Protestants have ignored this rich character…the mother of our Lord.
The Christ carrier.
She is a paradox of literary genius. She is the willing heroine of the ultimate and true fairy tale (Luke 1:38). She is a commoner adopted and grafted into THE Royal family (Luke 34-35). She is poor, yet chosen (Luke 1:46-49), humble (Luke 1:48), yet favored (Luke 1:30-33). She is the subject of gracious suffering in the most tragic of losses (John 19:25-30) and the witness to the greatest of triumphs (Matthew 28:1-8). Her life is a thrilling, terrifying, page turning drama.
She was the Christ carrier. Her body carried our Lord into this world.
Out of her body, her womb was birthed PEACE…the Peace maker.
Out of her broken, earthly body was brought forth JOY…pure Joy personified.
From her fallen human state entered LOVE…the essence of God Himself.
Yes, she is in her grave like all other deceased humans. She is not a god in heaven.
Still, she was the Christ carrier. Dante in the Divine Comedy said that she had “the face that most resembled Christ”. Biologically this would be true.
And, Christ must still be carried.
The world still needs Christ carriers…still need faces that resemble His.
Paradoxes of literary genius. Willing heros and heroines of the ultimate and true fairy tale. Commoners adopted and grafted into THE Royal family. Poor, yet chosen. Humble, yet favored. The subject of suffering and trials and losses…yet witness to the greatest triumph ever known. Lives of thrilling, terrifying, page turning dramas.
It is so easy to spout off criticisms, to sneer condemnations, and snarl disdain.
Birthing is work. It is painful. It requires travail.
And this world needs it more than ever.
Christ carriers. Carrying our Lord into this world.
Out of our bodies, out of the wombs of our lives, our words, our actions, our relationships…birthing PEACE…the Peace maker.
Out of our broken, earthly bodies bringing forth JOY…pure Joy personified.
From our fallen human states showing LOVE…the essence of God Himself.
I am thinking about the Christ carrier again at the start of this Christmas season.
I am hoping…I am intent and I am praying to God to help me be like Mary. Sure, she is a biblical picture of a mother…but she is so much more. She is the first model of a Christ carrier…of the life drama that is birthing Christ into this world.
Praying for all Christ carriers this season as we celebrate the physical birth of our Lord.