I’ll never forget the first (or 2nd or 3rd) time the doctor told me I was pregnant. It is shocking, scary and exciting all at the same time! But then soon you feel life growing inside and something magic begins to happen. You fall in love with a little person you have never met. Then you plan and make room in your home. Every day you wait for the new babe to come. Pregnancy can be hard and wonderful at the same time. It does things to your body that can’t be explained. But you gladly sacrifice the body you had for the joy of a child in your arms. I will never forget the emotion when I beheld my baby for the first time. I had never felt a love like that. But the true joy had just begun.
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. It is a time we set aside to remember, be thankful, and proclaim the glory of God’s goodness; that He would come down and live among us. That our Savior would leave Heaven and lower Himself to walk with sinners is incredible. No one has ever sacrificed like that for me and you but Jesus. Blessed Mary had quite the shock when the angel told her she carried God’s Son. She had much more than stretch marks and swollen feet to deal with. But as her body made room for a Savior, she promised to trust God and raise His Son. (If you ever wonder how God feels about women, think on this story.) And then Mary set aside whatever she was doing and made room for Jesus in her life.
That’s when the real blessing begins – after the birth – when you make room in your life. About six weeks into new baby twins, I called my husband at his job. I hadn’t slept in three days, I couldn’t even go for a walk, I wasn’t dressed and had no idea what day or time it was. I called to tell him that I had changed my mind and didn’t want to do this anymore. Poor guy! He didn’t really know what to say. Having a child takes constant sacrifice. It is the most difficult job on earth. The nursery can be perfect. You can have designer baby clothes ready and the newest stroller. But what this new little person needs is your time, your love, your life. In return, you weld a bond that can never be severed. A baby changes everything.
Learning new things is arduous. Change isn’t popular. But as we work and learn and stumble and get back up, we grasp and grow. I became a better mother. I cherish and know my children on a level I never could have imagined even as I gazed into the eyes of a newborn that took my heart away. When I first fell in love with Jesus, I couldn’t imagine loving Him more, but I do. I know Him intimately. The real celebration started after that new birth. The struggle that makes us strong, the failing that teaches us, the neediness that incites us to trust Jesus come after we welcome Him into our lives.
The day after Christmas can feel so dreary, but isn’t this when the real celebration should begin? Isn’t this when Joy began? Shouldn’t the 12 Days of Christmas start on the 26th? Did Mary not marvel at the son in her arms? Did she study every curve in his deified face and memorize every cry? She was the first to be captivated; the first to give her life to the Savior of the world. Because it is after the baby is here that we know the true blessing. That’s when we fully bestow our life and heart. The work commences, but also the joy. That’s when the angels worshipped and the shepherd’s stood amazed. That’s where true love begins.
My children changed my life forever, not just for a season. Jesus’ birth and life changed our lives forever. He is every season. He is every day, every breathe. Take Him with you after Christmas. Hold Him close and study His ways. Get to know Him and you will find a love you never imagined. Celebrate the babe born in Bethlehem, but then carry forever the Savior of the world.