Our youngest child, a boy, has his birthday this month. He was expected to be a January baby, but he gave us our best Christmas present ever when he arrived before Christmas.
Christmas was a little different that year.
On Christmas Eve, we drove forty miles to the new church we were helping with audio and music. It was in a small, picturesque business district of a small town. The church met in an old rented theater. The whole scene had the feel of a Norman Rockwell painting. In the service that night, my husband ran the sound board and our good friends led us in worship, while I sat in awe holding our newborn baby boy.
Suddenly I had the tiniest glimpse of what Mary might have felt on that first Christmas morning. The heartfelt music painted a picture in my mind. I could see Mary snuggling her newborn, sad to be away from her home, thankful for Joseph’s presence, and relieved at her baby’s safe delivery.
The baby I held was only human, but his sweetness took my breath away. Imagine how much more Mary must have felt, knowing that her sweet little baby was truly, perfectly God.
As I counted my boy’s fingers and toes, I wondered what kind of man he would grow up to become. I wondered if Mary had any clue what her Son’s life would bring.
Did she imagine the sorrow and the joy he would bring her?
Did she really grasp that this tiny baby would be her Savior?
Did she contemplate the fact that her frail humanity was nourishing a Deity?
In that moment, I appreciated Christmas like never before. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself to become a tiny, helpless baby born among the animals in a town far away from home. THIS is how much He loved is. THIS was only the beginning of what He would do to show us the depth of His love.
This tiny baby grew into manhood. He took the weight of the world onto His own perfect shoulders. He loved us so much that he paid the price for the world’s sins. He endured excruciating pain for you. For me. He gave us the gift of freedom. All we must do is accept that gift and let Him clean us from the inside out. He wants to heal us. To make us new.
The wise men from the East gave Him expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This Christmas, Jesus just wants you. All of you. Even the ugly, shameful parts. You don’t need to hide them. He knows about them already…and He loves you anyways.