If the medium is the message then it means something that God included women as participants in the incarnation.
It’s obvious that God needed an available uterus to pull off the Incarnation. Only a sinless human could break sin’s power. Hatching Jesus from a giant egg or parachuting him from Heaven would have demonstrated more panache on God’s part. However, Jesus would have been something less than human. Our savior’s life needed to begin in the womb.
Mary is the most famous female in the infancy narrative. She obediently submitted to the will of God and gestated. Mary suffered all the indignities of pregnancy. Her teenaged waistline ballooned. She waddled down the streets Nazareth as she did her chores. Jesus pressed against her bladder forcing frequent stops to relieve herself. Mary suffered fatigue and napped often. She might have suffered morning sickness and constipation as her hormones transformed her body into a living incubator. Mary’s agreeing to “let it be done” to her was noble and self-sacrificing. But being a surrogate is not the same thing as being an equal.
If we stopped our investigation of women and the Incarnation here, we’d view women as the gift box that Jesus came in and not recipients of the gift themselves. We’d have the story of a man-child who was born to lead a movement of men. Christmas, at this level of investigation, simply reinforces what we suspected all along: Christianity is a man’s game. Women are simply involved out of biological necessity.
But if we press on and look at the narratives more closely we see that Mary’s role is bigger than that of baby-mama. Gabriel appeared to Mary first, before involving her fiancé or clergy. Luke’s gospel contrasts the faith of Mary and Elizabeth against that of inferior belief of Zechariah and Joseph. The archangel appeared to these men and found their message rejected. Mary and Elizabeth, however, respond by accepting a prophetic role. This is exactly what the prophet Joel prophesied:
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
In those days I will pour out my Spirit.”
Joel 2:28-30 [ESV]