The most significant buts surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ have to be those associated with his conception. Matthew records:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Both of these buts speak to what had to be a most uncomfortable situation–Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but found to be pregnant outside of their relationship. Sounds like a reality show, doesn’t it? MTV didn’t produce this drama. God did.
The two conjunctions speak a “let there be no doubt” clarity into the context. This wasn’t biology between Joseph and Mary, this was an act of God. In fact, when coupled with many other passages of scripture, it becomes quite clear that this was God, Himself, stepping into human flesh–pleased to dwell among mankind.
As important as these buts are, I’d suggest to you that a simple phrase right at the front of this birth narrative serves as a clarion call: This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. Matthew records this matter-of-fact. Take it or leave it–this is how it happened. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. Now, what are you going to believe?
As we’ve considered these last few weeks in this Advent season, it really is important to prepare our hearts rightly–what is the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ? What are the implications? What bearing do these things have on me? On salvation?
O come let us adore…