Wonders start in wombs
Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
As I was out on a morning walk the other day, I noticed a nativity scene that was set up in my neighbor’s yard. The self-standing, silhouette design looked beautiful against the backdrop of the holiday decor that decked the house. It was the brilliance of the white display that caught my attention. It stood out in the early morning when the sunlight was not quite blaring down on my neighborhood and the sky was a bit gray. I paused for a moment when I saw it, because earlier that same morning, I had been thinking of the miracle of Christmas that is the celebration of the incarnation of our Savior Jesus Christ.
However, a nativity scene did not cause those earlier thoughts, but rather the illustrations from a Nigerian medical student named Chidiebere Ibe. His artwork is currently trending in the media because he taught himself to draw to fulfill a need in medical textbooks that do not provide medical illustrations of patients of color. An aspiring neurosurgeon, he began to draw what he desired to see in his studies. I saw his drawing of a fetus in the womb of a Black mother, and I was instantly moved. While many news reporters are highlighting Mr. Ibe as a change agent to remedy the underrepresentation of Black skin and inequality of medical illustrations, I saw something different.
God is intentional, and He chooses to use whatever he will to get our attention. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Mr. Ibe’s illustrations are trending at Christmas. I also don’t think this message is limited to medical science or the medical community. I believe at Christmas, we were meant to look at the wonder that starts in the womb and be reminded that God wrapped Himself inside of His own creation many Christmas seasons ago and that He did it because He is Jehovah El Roi, the God who sees us. He sees all of us. God lived among us in the son of man, Jesus, because He knows us and loves us so much.
As I looked at the fetus in that medical illustration, I was reminded of a baby who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. This is the foundational truth of the Christian faith. I believe Mr. Ibe’s desire to draw these illustrations was also conceived by the Holy Spirit because the God who sees us and knows us wanted to remind us of the word of God in Jeremiah 1:15. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” And while we may not have realized how much we needed this illustration at this time, we do. We all needed to look inside the womb and to acknowledge that God is still wrapping His spirit inside the flesh of a human being, human hands and human inventions and He is still birthing His creativity into the earth through humans. All of us.
While the representation message is important, it is only important because all sisters and brothers, no matter our skin color, have a purpose as image bearers of our Creator God, meaning we have a responsibility to bring forth what He has placed inside of us because God predestined it. We all matter in that way. If we are missing something that our sister or brother didn’t produce, we all miss out. We didn’t know what we were missing until Chidiebere Ibe drew it into being.
The wonder of the womb touches all mankind. God brought His son to the world in the same way that you came into the world. Jesus began as a fetus the same way that you began as a fetus. There is something about looking into the womb and seeing yourself that is both holy and igniting right here at the holidays. I wish you a blessed holiday and prosperous new year.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is a teacher, writer and affirmer of faith, identity, relationships and experiences. Connect with her via firstname.lastname@example.org.