This December, my eyes are fixed on a child born and laid in a manger…God’s answer to death and distress. In this year notorious for its hurt, loss and grief, it is important to know that God has responded to our cries. God’s answer to death is life.
In the year 2000, my mother-in-law died unexpectedly on a snorkeling cruise off the island of Maui. A family vacation for all of us…parents…kids…grandkids turned into the saddest of times. It was a traumatic event too, scarring the minds and creating nightmare memories. Kay was our matriarch and a guiding light of goodness. With her death, the Musgrove family was in dark despair. How could life continue without her?
We wandered blindly, in those months following Kay’s death, stumbling through the days without our strength. We all grieved, but none was so lost as her husband, Wayne. Their marriage had been a true partnership, neither one holding a position of dominance over the other. With his beloved gone, Wayne seemed bisected, and his spirit snuffed. He had always believed he would be the first to die, this turn of truth was unfathomable. Hope seemed impossible and death so final.
Soon after, I learned I was pregnant. Our child was very likely to be Wayne’s last grandchild. Like a crocus pushing through winter’s frozen earth, this baby brought the hope of life into the darkest of times. It was the very thing our family needed…the Light of Life and someone to love. This was a gift for us; a child was born.
When was the last time you looked at the face of a sleeping child? Did your face soften into a smile?
When was the last time you cuddled a warm infant bundle? Was your heart glowing from within?
How did you feel when that cherub smiled? Was the world perfected in that moment?
God knew exactly what He was doing when He came to earth as a babe. He understood that our hardened hearts could be tapped into by the sweet innocence of new life.
God knows what we need. We need hope. We need Him.
Feeling our despair, He came to us in this frailest of ways.
Jesus was the Light of Life…the answer to our pain…the someone who poured love into us.
This Christmas, in what might seem like the darkest of times, let’s focus on the quiet and tender form of love that a baby brings. Remember how a baby softens the saddest, angriest and hardest of hearts. Observe the smiles of the season. Let’s look for the evidence of God-with-us, Emmanuel, God’s answer to our losses and grief.
“For unto us a child is born….”