Second Breath

By: Dr. David Campbell
We have been talking about breaths. There are five breaths of God that our lives are centered around. The first breath was at creation. God breathed into Adam the breath of life. We are now ready to talk about the second breath, which occurred at the incarnation.

Incarnation is our word for the birth of Jesus. We celebrate it at Christmas.  The word “incarnation” means “taking on flesh," just as God became flesh and blood. Let us take a look at the gospel of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word is Jesus. At his birth, the Word became flesh. Now jump to Luke’s gospel. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

We have a tendency to romanticize the scene. So many manger scenes, so many pictures of Mary sitting with a smile on her face staring at the face of the baby Jesus. Joseph is right there as well.     The stars are out. All is calm. All is bright. How would you describe it? “Silent night, holy night.” That is burned in our minds. But was it really? There is a great song that I like the song by Andrew Peterson called “Labor of Love." It begins, It was not a silent night. There was blood on the ground. Probably a little more realistic. Childbirth is loud and messy. If you have ever been in a delivery room, you know that to be the case. We have three children, two girls and a boy in the middle. Our son did not cry when he was born. His lungs had issues. But our girls did. They cried early and often. It is a beautiful moment. But also loud and messy.

The bible doesn’t specifically say that Jesus cried at birth, but everything we know about the births of babies tells us that. When a baby is born it cries out. It is a good thing. It is a beautiful thing. The lungs work. The baby has drawn their first breath. It was true for my girls. It was true for Jesus. And that is incredibly important. When Jesus took his first breath in Bethlehem it made a statement: He was human. He had chosen to take on flesh and blood for you and for me. He came to be “incarnate.” The first breath of God was in creation. He breathes life into us. The second breath is at the incarnation. Jesus takes his first breath and the Word has become flesh.

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