A Not so Silent Night

As I think about Christmas, the gifts, the fellowship, the stress….the birth of Christ, I am overwhelmed by the incredible truth that Jesus came as a human being, knowing that he would have to experience the pain of this world and one day take it all on himself so that we could live…

Being a mother of 3, I can’t help but think of Mary. I thought of her more last year than I ever have…until this year.

With a beautiful friend spending the next 24 hours (give or take a few) with her baby girl in her womb, knowing that once she is born, her life will be short, I am flooded with all kinds of emotions. Most I am unable to articulate.

My heart is heavy. Knowing from firsthand experience that a mother’s heart is never prepared to let her child go.

So my mind races with thoughts of what Monday will look like for Katie.

I think of her husband and her two daughters, how they will be affected, what they will be feeling. However, it isn’t the same. A mother spends more than 9 months feeling this little life move inside her womb. She talks to her, sings to her, names her (Hallie), pats her belly as if to say, “I’m here and I love you already”. There is nothing to prepare her to let her go…

Mary knows what it is like to lose a child.

The perspective of a mother watching her beautiful baby boy smile and coo knowing in her heart that one day she would also watch him die. I can’t fathom it.

I think of her, watching her precious little one (the Savior of the world) run around outside, playing and laughing, the sun reflecting off of his hair as she thinks, “When Lord? When will it be? How much time do I have?”

Over the weekend, Chris and I took our boys and a friend’s daughter (who we love to pieces) to the Nature Center. They love it there. I had to be all but dragged as Friday is my pajama pants day. I threatened Christopher with wearing pj pants in public, but he didn’t seem the least bit concerned.

Once we got there and realized that we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, I was able to exhale.

The beautiful flowers and plants that we had seen blooming only weeks ago were now brown and leaves covered the ground. The signs of fall were all but gone and winter was announcing its arrival.

It’s amazing how different the exact same tree looked, stretching to the sky with its now naked branches.

It was an overcast day, but the sky still looked amazing and the breeze was just enough. It was as if God was acknowledging sadness.

I loved hearing the kiddos squeal with delight as they ran through the crunchy leaves, stopping only to climb on a rock or pick up a stick to throw into the river.

I watched them look in amazement at all the different creatures along our path. The dirt was even fascinating to their young minds. Their imaginations were taking them to far off places with invisible swords and maidens in distress. Where the good guy always wins and rides off with the girl.

As I watched their interactions…their complete lack of concern for time…the looks on their faces as they ran around corners, stopping at each clearing to see if there were fish surfacing the water…my mind went back to Mary.

Did she watch Jesus play this way? Laughing and jumping? Throwing rocks and sticks into the water as he called to his siblings?

Did he know from the beginning the enormity of his glory? Or was he able to maintain that child like wonder? His father is God after all! The Creator of the Universe.

When looking at my own sons, it’s rather difficult to take in.

Did Jesus scrape his knees and have common childhood illness’? Did he run to his mother for comfort?

What if he had come as he deserved? There would have been no Bethlehem. There would have been no animals or Shepherds at his birth. There would have been no Mary.

But he didn’t come as he deserved. He came as a helpless infant.

I’m guessing that Mary experienced the pain that childbirth brings that is like no other pain in the world. And that when Jesus was born, it was not a silent night. I’m guessing that she screamed out under the labor of giving birth and that Jesus cried, as every healthy baby does, after being delivered.

I would also guess that his father, Joseph, was the doctor and the nurse. There probably weren’t many midwives on the streets of Bethlehem that night.

So why? Why did he enter the world this way? Or at all for that matter? You have to admit, it’s a strange way to save the world.

I think he did it so that when I look at my son, I realize what an incredible sacrifice was made. I can relate to the pain of giving birth. I can relate to watching my babies grow and thanking God for the time with them and the incredible gift that they are.

There really wasn’t any other way.

There are many, many things that I do not and will not understand in this life.
That’s okay. I’m not called to understand, I’m called to believe.

So in the case of sweet Katie and baby Hallie, I have to believe what a friend said in prayer the other day… that little Hallie’s life has already had more of an impact than many of us will make in a lifetime. Another said that the only reality she will ever know is Heaven. (Now that is a beautiful visual)

The difficult part is not for those who go meet the Savior. It is for those of us who are left behind with the unanswered questions and a sadness that aches as if it will never heal.

How do those without God do it?! How does one who does not believe in a Savior (other than themselves) survive pain that is so unjustifiable? I cannot wrap my mind around it.

In the Father I have a promise of something more than this world. That is what keeps me hanging on during the rough moments.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In this world there will be sorrow. For those of us who know that this world is not our home, we cling to the truth, that a man, Jesus, came as a baby in a wooden manager filled with hay and then died on a cross made from a tree (one that his father had created), taking all of our guilt, shame and defects, upon himself so that we may not perish, but have everlasting life.

I look forward to meeting Mary and talking with her as one mom to another.

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