I’ve read the Christmas story or heard it in church nearly every year of my 34 years of life. That’s a lot of times. This morning, however, I heard it a little differently. It was, in part, the way it was shared (thanks to our contemporary, no-putting-on-airs church). I think it was also in part because this is the first coherent Christmas I’ve experienced as the mother of a baby boy (last Christmas was anything but coherent). Prior to this morning, I never even considered what it would have been like to be Mary, holding her son, the Baby Jesus, knowing the fate that was before Him. This morning, however, I heard the story of Jesus’ birth through a mother’s heart, and I haven’t been able to cuddle my son ever since without pausing to try to imagine how Mary might have felt. I end up feeling something indescribable, albeit, I’m sure, nothing close to what Mary must have felt. As I rocked my baby boy to sleep tonight, I admired his innocent, sleeping baby face in the glow of the night-light, and I paused on the thought of how much God loves us to have entered into the world in the most lowly and least visible way possible and die in the most visible way possible. Graphic scenes from The Passion of the Christ haunted me. Being unable to grasp any of these concepts, I settled on the thought of how much I love my children, which is more than I can describe in any words. Then, just when I thought I was close to being able to understand it, I considered that God loves my children—and me—even more. That’s when it eluded me again. Elusive as these concepts are, I’m reminded of how God uses our marriages and families to deepen our understanding of Him, and I am thankful for the deeper understanding of the birth of Christ that I’ve gained through my relationship with my baby boy.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!