Christmas Eve Labor, 24Dec
It’s Christmas Eve, what was Mary doing? Ah yeah, she was in labor… I am sure her pain was less then my labor pain, I hope it was. Yes, her unfathomable pain came later, knowing the pain that her son would have to endure during his life and the pain at the end. His public display of physical and emotional pain, no question it caused her the most emotional pain anyone – and any mother – could have. Watching your own son tortured and crucified…none of us can even imagine her pain.
Labor pain – that I can understand – I did have two babies…and vividly remember the labors. The pain in labor is anticipatory, starts so subtle, becomes more regular, more intense…you know it’s coming, you brace yourself. The labor pain for my son, my second child, blocked out any emotions and as I writhed in agony in the car at 5am, I never gave my first born a kiss goodbye as she was being dropped off at a friend’s house. Oh, how I regretted that when I was being wheeled into an emergency c-section… Oh my agony that I might die here on this table, and I hadn’t given her a kiss goodbye. Emotional agony worse than labor pain. Ten years later, I try to never forget to give her or my son a hug goodbye. The power of love transcends all pain.
I had the blessing in the last three days to have God place three babies in my care, physically or emotionally…but really God was placing the trust of the parents in my care…awaking me to ease their pain…not labor pain, but emotional stress… The first baby was a toddler, cute but wriggly, totally in the need of entertainment during church… a baby of a friend of a friend…used my cute red dangly earrings, got to play ‘dropsies’, smart baby… waited for someone to pick it up…the gift of this baby was the joy of seeing everyone laugh. The gift of this baby was holding her at our church praise service during the Michael Card song ‘Come to the cradle, come and find peace’ – the coincidence was not lost on me… I’ve been trying to find peace with this Christmas baby for quite a while now. This was a wiggly baby, so my entertainment value lasted only a short time, but it was a special time.
Next day another baby, but saddest of all, a baby who was struggling for life before it barely even breathed into her. I only knew the baby from her Facebook support page but she was a local, and friend of a friend. This little baby fought and fought, but a heart defect and tremendous medical issues finally took their toll. The doctors did everything I am sure. the emotional prayers that flooded to their Facebook page over 12,000 people subscribed, I hope someday they will get to read all of those posts, know they weren’t alone. I think emotional pain can be so much greater than physical pain even during labor. the grief the unreal how do you move forward. My only comfort, which I offered as a media post was the ‘Emmet Otter Christmas’ song “when the river meets the sea”…’while our mind is full of questions but our hearts will understand…’ speaks to when we pass…we will still be filled with questions… I don’t know why this baby and these parents had to go through their grief, I don’t know how they’ll get over it. 12000 Facebook followers… I pray for their support to be there for years and years and years. Right now 12,000 share their own grief, reliving their own losses, over this quandary of ‘ the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away’…
The Lord shared a third baby in three days just last night to take care of… 3 days in a row – not surprising as I feel the Lord leading me… selective pressure, just like scientific experiments of bacteria on antibiotic plates, keeping the cells from deleting their antibiotic resistance genes, keeping me from forgetting about the baby coming on Christmas…. This cutie-patootie baby in his stroller, the grandson of a friend, was an easy happy loving cute baby – the kind of baby that induces those mom emotions of ‘I want another’… We were at the Living Nativity and I so wanted to take the baby out and give him to Mary to hold… but I certainly was not going to disturb a super happy baby content in his warm comfortable stroller, while the baby’s father and grandmother had their hands full with two jovial rambunctious and running children… this four month baby was so giggly so smiley and so cute. A friend asked me jokingly, ‘I didn’t know you had another baby?’ and I said I had this baby the easy way, I stole him. Maybe it was good I couldn’t hold this baby, it prevented me from keeping him forever.
It’s not lost on me that even in a living nativity, the baby is largely ignored. Mary doesn’t hold the baby, yes I know it is a doll as a prop, but when I played Mary I held the baby. Someone even commented that I was supposed to put the baby back in the manger… we aspire to our Hallmark card images… if I know Mary, she was probably holding the baby…
So three days, three babies, do I get an unexpected baby today too?
Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas and I think I need to be in labor now, I need to anticipate the arrival of a new baby, but this one in my heart. I feel an increasing labor pain that I must give birth to a savior for me. An increasing labor pain to trump emotional pain? Or emotional pain to labor the concept the Jesus is real in me? My heart had never felt so ready to accept baby Jesus, my brain and my questions of his existence are catching up, slowly…but my heart is like a giant helium balloon lifting and carrying my brain with it…we are all headed to the delivery room. I do have spiritual doctors and nurses ready to assist. There will be tears, pain then healing and joy. There will be a Merry Christmas for me. I believe.