It seems fitting, albeit somewhat jarring, that today — the day after Christmas — the rooted verse deals not with the birth of baby Jesus, but with the resurrection of the crucified Jesus.
The manger cradle, and the empty tomb… these two scenes form bookends that mark the beginning and the end of Jesus’ physical presence on earth.
In those 33 years, he went from a baby boy lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes… to a beaten-up body lovingly wrapped in a burial shroud.
In both scenes, women are central figures, including (by most accounts) his mother Mary.
In both scenes, Jesus is at his most vulnerable… subject to the care of his mother, and then to the mistreatment of his captors.
In both scenes, angels appear to herald good news: “Fear not… Unto you is born this day a Savior”… and then, to the perplexed women at the empty tomb: “Fear not… He is risen.”
Both scenes tell of a miraculous new beginning… a birth and a resurrection… something never witnessed by humanity before or since. Events foreseen by the prophets, heralded by the angels, and recognized by those who are willing to believe, with open hearts and listening ears.
Blessed are we to be among them. Merry Christmas! And Hallelujah!