“Immensity cloistered in thy deare womb”
This is one of my favourite lines from John Donne’s ‘La Corona’ poem. It speaks of the mystery of the incarnation – that the eternal logos of God – the 2nd person of the trinity should take on human flesh and be born as Jesus of Nazareth.
My wife has been pregnant three times – and I’ve learned something about the way her body has had to adjust to the growth of a new life within her. Her stomach gets smaller, her internal organs get squished around by the growth of the baby in the womb, her bladder gets squeezed and she needs to pee a lot!! (I hope that’s not too much information!)
But the point is this – for a woman to have a baby involves an enormous degree of reordering of her internal organs. Allowing Christ to be born is us also involves a massive reordering of our interior lives. In the words of John the Baptist, ‘I must decrease, he must increase’.
Christian discipleship will involve the active diminution of our hopes, dreams and priorities as well as our fears, anxieties and hurts. Instead of chasing after status, security and success, Jesus commands us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God’ (Matt. 6:35).
So the challenge for all of us as we move into 2012, is to make more space in our lives for Christ to grow in us – to allow our lives to be conformed to his – to invite God to dwell within us, and to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.