"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).
Something I wrote for our LPM Christmas newsletter:
I have a tear-off calendar on my refrigerator that my mom gave me for Christmas last year. Other than the gift of my son’s crib bedding, it was my favorite thing I got. Above the calendar pages is a picture of my sister and me with another set of sisters that we grew up with. I smile every single time I see it and think of how much I love the three other women in the picture. It was a little sad when November arrived and I had to tear off October. One reason is that October is my birthday month and I just love it. But the main reason is that with only two months left, the calendar that had provided a daily dose of simple joy now seemed very puny. And the most eventful, sacred, precious, amazing year of my life was about to be past tense. This was the year my son was born.
Becoming a mother was not something I dreamed of my whole life. I was quite a tomboy growing up and I never liked playing house. As soon as I got married I began asking God to prepare my heart for motherhood. It was not something I naturally desired, but I wanted it to be. Then one day a fancy-schmancy pregnancy test flashed the word “pregnant” before my eyes. Ten weeks later Curt and I were in my doctor’s office looking at our baby for the first time on an ultrasound screen. He was very tiny, but we could make out the shape of his head and body as well as his microscopic limbs. In that moment—seeing my child’s precious form long before I was even showing—I went from being pregnant to being a mom. “I don’t care if I have a boy or a girl, I just want that baby right there,” I said. Our baby arrived on a cold day in February, and as my whole family predicted and prayed for, he was a boy.
My mom has always said that children have the uncanny ability to make you feel more vulnerable than you could ever imagine—like your heart is beating in another’s body. I have found her description to be quite true. This year has been an exercise in many things—selflessness, endurance, self-control (while shopping for baby clothes), and taking my anxious and fearful thoughts captive to Christ. My natural instinct is to shelter my son from anything unpleasant like germs, falling on the hardwood floor, or even having cold feet. I try not to think about the bad decisions he will make one day that will cause him to have to sit out during recess. I ban thoughts of the broken bones and stitches that accompany boyhood and the temptations and heartaches that will come in his youth. Simply put, I don’t want him to suffer. God is good not to tell us what this life holds for our children because I don’t think we could stand to know the unpleasant things. We would not yet have His grace to walk through them.
And then I think of the Father who so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son to a sinful, pain-filled, diseased earth in need of a Savior. I imagine how the Father would have rejoiced when baby Jesus smiled for the first time. How His heart would have melted when the angels told Him, “He really has Your eyes.” How He would have laughed when Jesus tried to crawl away from Mary when she was changing His clothes. And all the while He knew the incredible suffering that awaited His Son on the cross. Thankfully, He also knew the glory that would be His when all was said and done.
Among many, God’s gift to me this Christmas is a new tenderness toward baby Jesus, a deep respect for His mother, a stronger love for the Father, a greater sense of awe at His sacrifice, and a fresh desire to see my Savior in all His glory.