“The first testimony of Christ in this world came from an unborn child.”
When I read this the other day, it stopped me dead in my tracks for a moment. Think about that for just a second. Consider this miraculous story:
A barren woman is pregnant. This shouldn’t be. And yet she is. This woman, the wife of a priest, is beyond childbearing years and yet she is in her sixth month of pregnancy.
A virgin is pregnant. This shouldn’t be. And yet she is. This woman, daughter of a common man, has not yet reached childbearing years and yet she is in her first trimester.
The first woman’s husband cannot speak. The second woman’s betrothed cannot cope. Both, in their own way, are alone. Both, in their own way, need to hear from God that they are not alone.
He had sent angels, but the angels are silent.
He had sent signs, but the signs are silent as well.
But, as God so often does, He used a child. And not just any child, an unborn child, still in his mother’s womb, still forming but not yet fully formed, still hidden and not yet fully known.
A kick, a leap, a jump for joy as this unborn child beheld the other, his Savior, his Lord. The first mother instantly understood the testimony, instantly knew the truth and instantly proclaimed aloud, “You are blessed, mother of my Lord.” The second mother instantly felt relief, seeing her pregnant cousin, hearing the confirmation, knowing that God with us was within her.
A little child will lead them.
Ah Church, never underestimate what your children have to bring you. Never underestimate their testimony of truth. Even in the womb, they can see things that you and I cannot. Their pure and simple faith bring to us great joy, if we will lend an ear and give them a voice.
A fe years ago, my husband texted me this message as told to him by our son: Four-year-old Christology – Jesus is Lord. First, he was a superhero, then he was a baby.
First, he was a superhero, God Almighty, the Great I Am. Then he was a baby, a fragile man, a little lower than the angels.
A little child will lead them.
He could have come fully grown. He came as a child.
He could have come as a man among men. He came as a helpless babe.
He could have been strong and mighty…a superhero. He came as a baby.
And when he was grown, he welcomed the young, the helpless, the children into his presence with open arms and with great joy.
Listen to the children as they speak to you of Christ. Let their faith fuel yours. Let their leaps of joy confirm to you that indeed, Christ has come into the world. Let the contentment they experience as you hold them in your arms be the contentment you feel as you are held in His. Create spaces in your gatherings for generations to come together and hear from each other, to share stories and hear hearts.
In this season of wonder and awe, give them space to re-tell and relive the story of Christ’s coming and listen for those words of peace, hope, love, and joy. I promise, if you listen, you will hear them.
This Christmas, let a little child lead you, right into the loving arms of Immanuel, God with us, our Superhero wrapped in swaddling clothes.
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Are you interested in going deeper into your understanding of generational discipleship, lifelong faith formation, and intentional discipling community? ReFocus Ministry Cohorts provide ministry leaders with the opportunity to expand their leadership skills in a twelve-week shared learning experience.
Facilitated by Christina, a cohort group of 4-6 individuals from multiple faith organizations meet weekly to explore and apply the principles of leadership in generational discipleship, intergenerational ministry, and church culture transition.
About the Author
Christina Embree is the founder and director of ReFocus Ministry. She holds a masters in ministry focused on Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and a doctorate in spiritual formation with a focus on age segregation and intergenerational ministry. In addition to coaching churches of multiple denominations and traditions all around the globe, Christina serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship for the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ and as a pastor at Plowshares Brethren in Christ in Lexington, Kentucky. She is widely recognized as a speaker and author in the areas of generational discipleship, intergenerational ministry, and family ministry. As the mother of three children, she is familiar with the challenges of faith at home and pastoral ministry. She along with her husband Luke share a love for the church, their community, and the global work of peace and restoration through Jesus.
Interested in having Christina visit your church, speak at your conference, or coach your team? Christina speaks on a wide range of topics related to children, youth, and family ministry with a unique focus on connecting generations for discipleship within your church. Her personalized approach allows you to pinpoint the needs of your community and gain the insight that you are looking for. Whether this is a volunteer team training and pastoral staff meeting or a ministerial conference, her experience and knowledge will help you determine the next step forward in creating lifelong disciples.