“Can you get me a pizza with bananas?” “I need some chocolate and cheese”. “Right now all I can eat is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”.
Any pregnant woman will recognise this strange craving for unusual foods. Some find that their desire is for ingredients that they don’t normally eat and others discover tastes for combinations that chefs would never prepare. It’s not limited to foods, drinks join the menu, tomato juice, apple juice in large quantities every single meal.
Experts believe that these cravings are related to needs for vitamins, minerals or other essential ingredients which may be lacking in the mother’s diet but which are essential for the baby to grow.
It’s almost as if the baby is guiding the mother to what they both need.
So, to Christmas. We don’t know whether Mary literally had cravings for certain foods but we do know that the child of Christmas guides and provokes new cravings in us all.
Mary herself immediately was provoked to glorify and rejoice. These two words describe an appetite for God which includes the ingredients of transparency and pleasure. “Glorify” contains the idea of letting people know, of revealing, of publicly honouring and recognising a person. “Rejoicing” contains the idea of uninhibited pleasure and enjoyment.
For many parents this is a literal experience. They cannot wait to tell their friends and family of their pregnancy and they take sheer delight in the newly growing baby.
But the Christian baby sets up cravings for speaking of, and delighting in, God.
It’s not just this food of pride and joy that is desired but it is a new thirst for God. The 42nd Psalm paints a word picture of a panting deer desperate for water and shows the reader a thirsty soul, craving the living God as the source of quenching and satisfying that deep thirst.
Everything gets changed, magnified or recombined as the Christmas child guides your cravings.
You long for peace – the Prince of Peace satisfies your longing. You long for parenting – the child of Christmas comes as an Everlasting Father. You long for answers – the Wonderful Counsellor gives you wisdom. You long for action – Mighty God arrives.
Please try to get to the detail here. Everyone longs for peace, parenting, wisdom and action. What the Christmas child does is provoke the craving to find these nutrients in God Himself.
He turns you away from thinking peace is found in wealth, parenting in movie stars, wisdom in talk shows or action in fairground rides.
Suddenly you are provoked to hunger after God. Then He turns you on to unusual combinations of love for enemies, blessing those who curse you, forgiveness replacing revenge, poverty of Spirit and owning a Kingdom.
The Christians of Christmas approach the working week craving the consciousness of God in all they do – driven by an urge to seek out ways of working which will look strange to others. But then they are not carrying the same child as you.
Luke 1 :46-47
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”
Psalm 42 : 1-2
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
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