Early this Christmas season found me crying yet again as Jessica and Patrick welcomed a second son into their family, although this time the tears fell for an altogether different reason. Not only were we present, but in a surprise gesture we hadn’t expected or requested Jessica invited us to stay in the room for the actual birth— at a discreet position behind her head. Together we watched transfixed as Baby Connor came into the world before our very eyes. Three weeks later, I’m still processing that heart stopping moment. I’m determined not to lose the wonder of it all. Holding an infant baby boy at Christmas time is a priceless experience, but life has taught me just how easy it is to become desensitized to the miracles around us.
Yearly Archive: 2011
About two and one half years ago our daughter went into labor, seven hours away. Her dad and I hit the road quickly when the much anticipated phone call came announcing the barest hint of the big event. Jessica Ann has never been one to fiddle-faddle around and she was true to form that night. We were less than an hour away when our son-in-law called to let us speak to Jessica via speaker phone in the delivery room, moments before Grant Thomas made his entrance. After we hung up, silence fell in the car. Phil reached for my hand as we checked off the last miles with tears streaming down my face. We were missing it. The kids, for that’s what the new parents still seemed like to us, would experience the miracle alone, the two of them becoming three.
It has been a wonderful Christmas season for this family. We’ve enjoyed joining with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ, God in the form of a baby, born to reconcile the world to Himself. As we close out this year and welcome the next, I invite you to join me a fresh commitment to marvel at that majesty every day of our lives. See, much like I’ve determined to remember the wonder of Connor’s birth, I believe a simple yet conscious determination to adore Christ daily can go a long way towards keeping us from the unintentional but dreadful negligence of taking His Presence for granted. May we never lose the wonder of it all. My hugs and His Great Blessings!
Happy New Year!
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the pastor admonished those who didn’t know the Lord Jesus as Savior but wanted to give their heart to Him to stand and declare, “I choose the Cross.”
After a moment, one person stood, then another, “I choose the Cross.”
The anointing and weight of the Lord in the room thickened. Sitting three chairs to my left was my sister-in-law. She knew the Lord, but as a young believer still had a lot of questions.
My spirit churned. I knew God was tugging on her heart, drawing her to stand and declare, “I choose the Cross.”
But it was Christmas Eve. A time to reflect on the Baby Jesus, the sweet, innocent Lord that the world can accept. Not the Man Christ Jesus who hung bleeding and dying on a Cross.
Another person stood, “I choose the Cross.”
The presence of the Lord deepened. Palatable. Real. Truth. And in the silence, working to warm cold human hearts.
I wrestled with the idea of urging her to stand. To confirm what she was feeling was the Lord. But, I stayed put in my chair. If the Holy Spirit couldn’t move her to stand, what made me think I could?
“Choose the Cross,” the pastor encouraged. And again we waited… in the candlelight.
Two, maybe three more people stood.
My heart was burning in my chest. I knew my sis-in-law was to stand. In the silence and waiting, the presence of the Lord increased.
We are too quick to leave Him. The silence and the waiting disturbing our sense of self. Funny, I think that’s what it’s supposed to do.
Then, she stood and declared in a voice watery with emotion, “I choose the Cross.”
Even now, I tear up remembering her courage, her fight over fear, over what others might think — come on, we’ve all been there — and declared before the congregation, “I choose Jesus over myself.”
Next to me, my mom wept, and my niece. I couldn’t stop crying. I think my brother and possibly my dad were teary-eyed.
After the service, when the candles were blown out and the house lights brought up, I didn’t have the sense of “it’s over” like I normally did after the Christmas Eve service.
I had a sense of awe and wonder. Of joy! The Lord HAS come. He came that night, just like He did 2000 years ago.
The feeling stayed with me all through Christmas. Hearing my sis-in-law declare those words trumped any gift giving or food specialties.
“I choose the Cross.” Not words we see often on a Christmas card or in greeting, but this season, I declare myself, “I choose the Cross.”
That Christmas remains one of my favorites of all time. What about you? Do you have an unusual Christmas memory to share?