The book of Mark is my favorite Gospel. It's a simple book and I'm a simple gal.
But have you ever noticed that something is missing from the book of Mark?
There is no birth story in Mark.
There's not even a mystical reference like in the book of John, who labels Jesus as "the Word".
As Mark records it, Jesus walks on the scene a grown man, heralded by the Elijah doppleganger John the Baptist: the predicted messiah ready to begin ministry.
No angels or shepherds. No discussion of virgin births or Magi visits.
Bethlehem is left out, as well as Mary and Joseph (Mary will show up later...)
What does this mean?
It's undoubtedly presumptious to definitavely suggest what Mark was thinking. Yet I will give it a try.
The Gospel of Mark is a book of action. Impatience rips through the book as Mark repeatedly suggests that Jesus "immediately" did this and that.
Mark was a young boy when he followed Jesus around. Is it possible that he misses the significance of the birth story?
I think not. Rather, I suspect that in Mark's frantic desire to get the story down, he realized that while the birth was significant, it was only the beginning.
One of the tragic realities of our culture is that it's easy to love the babe in the manager (uh, Talledaga Nights flash back!) yet not realize that the baby grew up to be the man who died on a cross for the sins of the world!
Mark's Son of Man is Lord. The baby didn't stay in the manager. He was a baby who was born to die. The Incarnation was meant for the cross....and beyond.
Mark speads a good protion of his book giving details about the cross. He wants his readers to get the awesome thing that was done. The pain and the triumph.
The baby who started in the manager ends up leaving an empty tomb. The Incarnation was the first step to vanquishing death...forever.