There is a really cool, jazzy video of the nativity doing the rounds on Facebook. It has already been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube…three of them by me! In case you have missed it, here is The Digital Story of the Nativity:
I crack up each time I see that click on the donkey hire. I love it! 🙂
However, while the video above would win hands down on a “fun” count, I have found a similar video which does a better job of conveying something of the content of the Bible story. And it comes with a more spiritually stirring soundtrack to boot! It is called A Social Network Christmas.
And what of the actual nativity story – the birth of the baby Jesus to a Virgin-mother called Mary as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke? Should we be satisfied with explanations of it as mystery, miracle or myth? Or was it the outcome of a cumulative moment of spiritual clarity in the heart of a woman whose whole (young!) life was devoted to getting a clearer sense of God’s nature* as divine Life and Love?
I have found that some thoughts by Mary Baker Eddy – the Founder of Christian Science – have clarified for me a logic to how the (one-off!) Virgin-birth could have occurred and why it would be of significance today in our practical understanding of God. She refers to the explanation in the teachings of Christian Science – which unpack the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, and their healing power – that God is truly “the only author of man”. Then she continues:
The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus — that is, Joshua, or Saviour.
The illumination of Mary’s spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed.
Man as the offspring of God, as the idea of Spirit, is the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal. Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God. Hence he could give a more spiritual idea of life than other men, and could demonstrate the Science of Love — his Father or divine Principle.
Born of a woman, Jesus’ advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure. This accounts for his struggles in Gethsemane and on Calvary, and this enabled him to be the mediator, or way-shower, between God and men. Had his origin and birth been wholly apart from mortal usage, Jesus would not have been appreciable to mortal mind as “the way.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
Again loved Christmas is here, full of divine benedictions and crowned with the dearest memories in human history — the earthly advent and nativity of our Lord and Master. At this happy season the veil of time springs aside at the touch of Love. We count our blessings and see whence they came and whither they tend… (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p.256)
I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth’s appearing…The splendor of this nativity of Christ reveals infinite meanings and gives manifold blessings… (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p.262)
* This idea of Mary’s whole life being devoted to drawing closer to God is a point that stood out for me in Tony Jordan’s eminently watchable BBC version of The Nativity, airing in the UK nightly this week – since Monday – and catch-up-able-on via the iPlayer. Here is my preview of it which, from 7:30pm on Thursday, after the last episode airs, will become a review of it!