There is something significantly different about Christmas this year that gives the birth of Jesus entirely new meaning to me. As I think about the impending birth of my own little boy, and the relationship that I'll have with him, I have brand new perspective of what God the Father went through from the human birth of his own Son to the day they rejoined in heaven.
He may have been God, but when Jesus came into humanity, he was tiny and helpless, innocent and pure. After laboring in a cold, unsterile stable, Mary gave birth to a baby boy - no pain medication, no midwife, no bed to rest in afterward. He may have been God but he was still her son, who she loved more than words could say. As she marveled over him, she couldn't have known what lay ahead for his life on earth. But God did.
God's capacity for love is infinitely greater than mine, which means that he loves his Son much more than I could possibly love my own. I imagine that as God watched Mary kneel by her son, blissfully unaware of the events to come in 33 years, his mind wandered to what he already knew would happen.
He knew that Jesus would be physically brutalized and tortured. 33 years later, he would be forced to turn his back as his innocent Son bore every sin the world has ever committed, temporarily separated from him in the the worst way possible. The thought of anything, anyone, harming my baby boy brings tears to my eyes and panic to my heart. God is not immune to pain and heartache. If mere humans can cause him grief, how much more must the suffering of his own Son?
The first Christmas, the angels rejoiced and brought messages to men near and far to come and see the Savior, born as a baby, arrived to save humanity. What a bittersweet night it must have been for the Father; joy at what his Son was to accomplish, unyielding burden at what he'd have to endure first.
I am so much like Mary. When my son arrives, I imagine I'll be marveling for hours over his sweet little form, oblivious to what events may come in his life. I don't know who or what will hurt him, what tragedies will fall, in what ways he will be stretched and grown and tested. God will know, and maybe he'll be thinking about them at the same time he's admiring his handywork.
Lord, I don't know how You were able to bear the weight of what happened to Your Son. If I'm truly honest then I'll admit that I don't want to know. Regardless, I have renewed gratitude for the both of You. I believe it will only grow, as I grow into motherhood.
You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below