Friday, December 23, 2011

When Everything Changed

Despite relatively warm temperatures here in Atlanta, we are determined to at least pretend it's winter since Christmas is just around the corner.  So we are huddled around our fancy new fire pit. And I am happy. Content. Enjoying holding Caden snuggled close while Jayci roasts marshmallows and eats way too many smores. I wink at Adam, and squeeze the hand of the sweet little kiddo sitting next to me, and then I look up and see a smattering of stars strewn across the sky. Suddenly I am transported to a dark night so long ago. When the stars weren't dimmed by the lights of a city, but their sparkling glow shone over a quiet countryside and kept watch over a holy stable.

It was that night, under twinkling stars, tiny pinpricks of light, that the Savior was born. Groaning and laboring culminated in a moment of exquisite joy as a King left His throne. And since that moment, nothing has been the same.

Because we serve a God who enters in, who joins us where we are. Who leaves glorious heavens to be born in a straw and manure-strewn stable. Emmanuel. God with us.

And now when we sit at our son's bedside surrounded by blinking light and beeping machines, I feel Him sitting beside us. I know, He whispers. I know what it is to surrender a son. I know how it hurts, how hard it is to unclench your fist and let go of that which you love most. And I understand, in that moment, that He will redeem even this. That just as His own son was sacrificed to save the world, our son's suffering will not go unnoticed. It will make a difference. It will change us, transform hearts everywhere. And it has.
And for those who dread waking up yet another day to a thankless job they just don't love. When we're certain we were made for more than sitting at a desk or cleaning up dirty diapers. Again He whispers, I know. For 32 years, I whittled and carved and made tables from wood. The King of the universe who created every thing worked as a humble carpenter, patiently biding His time until His Father whispered it's time, and He turned water into wine.

When we weep for brokenness and death. When our baby doesn't come home from the hospital, or our husband hears "it's cancer." He knows. He too has wept for the loss of a friend. He wipes His own tears, wraps us in His strong arms, and carries our pain on His beautiful shoulders.

And when our heart aches because of betrayal. When friends weren't what or who we expected. They say one thing and mean another. When middle school "friends" reminded again and again how ugly I am. . . He watches with tears in His eyes, and grasps my hand tightly, gently reassuring me that He knows. That one of His closest friends sold Him for a few pieces of silver. That His best friend denied knowing Him. That He died alone, the voices ringing "crucify Him" in His ears.
For each person who stares unhappily in the mirror, uncomfortable in their own skin. He gently reminds us of how He left His throne, and lay swaddled in a manger. A bed not fit for a baby, let alone a King. How he had to be burped, fed, and clothed by those He created. How He intimately and fully understands our pain. But He also knows that His Father doesn't make mistakes. That He had a plan for His newborn son, just as He has a plan for each of us. That God knit together His son perfectly, and He does the same for each of His children. Carefully and painstakingly creating fingers and toes and eyelashes. And hearts, even those that have to be "mended" again. Because He knows how grace is given and strength provided in small doses, doled out as needed.


By the light of the bonfire, I smile as I picture that night. With cattle, and sheep, and manure, and body heat warding off the late-night chill. With shepherds barging in to admire the baby-king. With Mary and Joseph exclaiming over their beautiful son, even while their hearts squeezed with the pain of knowing they would have to give Him up. With the stars glittering overhead and the bustle of the nearby town bursting at the seams.

And I think to myself, it must have been a lot like our house. An unlikely place. An unusual location for holiness. The last place anyone would look to find a King. Where drug deals happen as the street lamp just barely pushes through the night's black. Where kids run around wearing the same clothes for days, and children have babies, and gangs claim young lives.

Unlikely.

Yet, we serve a God who loves to use the unlikely. Prostitutes, liars, murderers, gang-members, and even newborn babies.
This God who knows us so intimately, who has walked where we are, who enters in. This God will use the unlikely to save many. To rescue the world with a baby, by sacrificing His son. To show up where He is needed most, and expected least. To spread love and warmth and life to the darkest corners of the earth. Even to street corners in Atlanta. And stables in Bethlehem.

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful! My daughter is in middle school and oh how your words on that subject touched my heart. Life is hard but HE KNOWS!

    thank you and Merry Christmas!
    ~H

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  2. this is so beautiful and well written. You have a talent for writing

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  3. Becca, you truely have a gift, what a beautiful post!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

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  4. Perfectly said. Merry Christmas Becca.

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  5. Beautiful Becca, just beautiful.

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  6. Absolutely beautiful. And where did you get that necklace? It's gorgeous!

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