A Divine First Breath

A baby lies in a manger, snuggled in swaddling clothes and admired by his mother. He is surrounded by cattle and sheep peacefully watching the scene unfold before their eyes. Just moments earlier, this newborn screamed his way into our world, and in doing so changed our relationship to the Divine forever. In that very first breath, the pure and innocent lungs of this holy little child were shocked and even scarred as he inhaled that which the world had to offer! His perfection was instantly exposed to the imperfect. Why, O Lord, would you want to experience our humanity? Ever since the birth of creation you had breathed Divine life into this sinful world, spreading Grace into a desperate creation craving to breathe just a little of your light into our vast darkness. But on this cold night in the Bethlehem countryside, the roles reversed. In this child’s first single breath, in that miraculous moment, you my Lord inhaled that which emanated directly from humanity. You, the Divine, willingly breathed our brokenness into your righteous soul! This thought leaves me astounded!
In the birth of this child to Mary, somehow my brokenness becomes a part of your holy consciousness. Suddenly, my sinful spirit is connected intimately to your Divine heart. Or, perhaps it is the other way around. Maybe your Divinity is now connected to my sinfulness in a way that allows you to relate to all the worst in me. Either way, I am blessed in ways I cannot even begin to fathom! And thus, once again, I stand in awe and stare at a meager and pitiful manger that changed my life even before I could take my own first breath in this world. A child lying in a manger in Bethlehem took a single simple breath, and my life was inexplicably made righteous. I will never fully understand, and nor do I need to. Instead, I only observe in contemplative wonder. This, This is Christ the King! Amen!
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

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