If you’ve contemplated your navel lately, chances are that you’ve encountered some bellybutton lint. You might ask yourself, “How did this stuff get here and what is it made of?”
To this question, I offer the following primer from the fine folks at Mental Floss:
Thanks to the work of dogged bellybutton researchers like Karl Sven Woytek Sas Konkovitch Matthew Kruszelnicki (better known as Dr. Karl) of the University of Sydney and Georg Steinhauser, a Project Assistant and Chemist at the Department of Radiation Physical Analysis and Radiochemistry at the Atomic Institute in Vienna, we know the following:
• Bellybutton lint consists primarily of stray fibers from our clothing mixed with some dead skin cells and bits of body hair.
• Contrary to many people’s expectation, these bellybutton lint building materials migrate up from underwear rather than down from our shirts, the result of friction between body hair and underwear fiber.
• Women build up less bellybutton lint because of their finer and shorter body hairs.
• The average mass of a ball of bellybutton lint is 1.82 mg.
As you might imagine, pondering these navel fluff facts immediately made me think of Jesus. If you can’t imagine why bellybutton lint might lead me to reflect on the Son of God, you probably haven’t read Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris. In this excellent book on the importance of biblical orthodoxy is a chapter titled, “God With A Bellybutton.” In it the author explores the truth that Jesus was both fully God and fully man:
“God the Son, existing for all eternity, now became dependent, floating in the amniotic fluid of a female womb. The One by whose power the whole world is sustained, now nourished by an umbilical cord. The God-man would have a bellybutton.
And then he had to be born. He had to come out. Think about that. When the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds outside the town of Bethlehem, they said, “Born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). When we read this account, we’re often distracted by the fact that angels have appeared. We imagine them shining, and we picture the shepherds and sheep. But none of this is truly incredible. What is incredible is this word born.
God has been born.
Born in what sense? Carried-down-from-the-sky-by-angels, pink-and-chubby-and-wrapped-in-white-blankets born? No. Born in the painful, screaming, sweaty, pushed-out-between-the-legs-of-a-woman sense. Born in all the bloody, slimy mess of real human birth. Squeezed and prodded from the darkness of his mother’s womb by the powerful, rhythmic contractions of her uterus.
And there he is, the Son of God, covered in fluid and blood. His lungs filling with oxygen for the first time. Crying. Helpless.”
That God would condescend to step out of the eternal and take on human flesh is truly a staggering truth. He lived as we lived, exchanging the glories of heaven to walk in sandal-shod feet along the dusty roads of Israel. He came in an unexpected way. He came uninvited. But thanks be to God that Jesus came to earth to be our Savior, our Redeemer, our King!