I have come to believe that the best definition for explaining love comes from catholic writer Thomas Howard who gives us the phrase: My life for yours. And where is this principle ‘my life for yours’ better demonstrated then in the birth of a child? I have never met parents who did not think that the birth of each of their children was one of the most amazing things they had ever experienced. We talk about the miracle of birth and so we should. The obstetrician might tell us how normal childbirth is, but we who have become parents know better. We might forget as the years pass and the trials of raising children take their toll. But when we sit back and remember, we know better once again. The birth of a child is a miracle. The ‘birth-days’ of our children remind us of this every year.
Of course, no childbirth in history has received more attention in art, music, literature, stained glass and even on the postage stamp than the birth of Jesus. That was a one-of-a-kind birth. But as C.S. Lewis points out, God is at work in every pregnancy and in every birth. Lewis writes, “No woman ever conceived a child…without God. But once and for a special purpose – God’s life giving finger touched a woman without passing through the ages of interlocked events.”
Now imagine this…It is the same God who brought about the pregnancy of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is also at work and involved in every birth. Your birth, my birth and yes He is at work even in our re-birth as we enter in to the new life and hope that Christianity offers.
Is this to say that the birth of Christ was ordinary? Far from it! But every birth points us to the incarnation! God becoming flesh! Every birth (because of the birth of Christ) has the same blessing upon it and reminds us as always—My life for yours!
Mothers and fathers practice this with their children and we demonstrate this principle with our neighbors. But ultimately, it is God who has demonstrated this principle, ‘My life for yours,’ the principle of perfect love, through sending his own son.