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Christmas Is All About a Baby

Christmas Is All About a Baby

The Christmas season is just so very much about a baby. You realize this when it’s your first Christmas without your baby.

Yes, Christmas 2012 will be unlike any other – the first Christmas we celebrate as parents who have lost a child. And whereas each December has always been focused, in our family, on Advent devotionals and Christmas crafts and activities that center around the birth of Christ, this December our senses have been fiercely attuned to an obvious, yet heretofore nonchalantly-passed-over focus:

Christmas is all about a baby.

Uh…..yeah. Everyone knows this, right? And, like it has been for me every other year before this one, for most people that declaration seems about as noteworthy as the claim that red and green are the primary colors of the season. Christmas, baby in a stable, yeah, we know. That’s how it was for me, too, before.

Now? A baby is no longer just a baby. It’s an emotional experience. Those innocuous, innocent little bundles have the ability now to pack a punch to my soul stronger than any prize-winning boxer – simply by being there. I can be going along in my day just fine, focused and cheerful, and see a baby, or even hear a baby…and my world gets turned on its end. Emotions well up before I can manage them, thoughts gallop wildly into places I don’t want to go, and, well…let’s just say that a baby in the room is about equivalent for me to standing in the same space as a nuclear bomb on a final countdown.

So yeah, Christmas being all about a baby isn’t just an “Uh…yeah”.

It’s more like a cataclysmic, earth-shattering, soul-transforming explosion.

With our family being so very attuned to what it means to have, and lose a baby, Christmas being about a baby suddenly jolts me like, well… the shepherds being awakened by a host of brilliant heavenly seraphs. And somehow I think that’s what it’s supposed to do to all of us – jar us out of complacency with awe and amazement. Not “just another story”, it should stun us and flabbergast us and change us. God. As a baby. The most joyous and yet humble beginning possible. A child awaited for centuries, foretold by prophets, written about in sacred scripture, and heralded by angels. God became man, God with us, in the form of an infant. A miracle.

I’ve known that joy. My little one might not have been divine, but I understand it. The anticipation. The wonder. The amazement at the miracle of life provided by God. I’ve felt it all.

And, in moments, I’ve felt like it was all taken away. Life extinguished. The miracle, gone.

But Christmas, the story of that baby, shows me something different.

This year, it hit me. Christmas has meaning not only because a baby was born, but because of what happened later. The Christmas baby – the baby Jesus – found his purpose in his death. The gift of Christ’s birth is realized in the later sacrifice of his death, by which He procured the salvation of mankind. So the miracle is not only that God became human in the form of a baby. The miracle is that through that baby’s eventual death God brought about life.

My son died against my will, while I prayed that he would not suffer. My Lord sent His son by choice of his own will, specifically for the purpose of suffering and dying. And then, through His death, provided life for the entire world.

Somehow I’ve missed the magnitude of all of that before now.

Life from death. Miracle in birth, culminating in the miracle in death.

And he did it through a baby.

Christmas will never be rote again.

Amazingly, I’ve felt it. Life from death. Life through my baby’s death. I’ve felt it in the meals brought for weeks by friends. I’ve felt it in messages from hundreds of cards, facebook posts, e-mails, and texts from people who care. I’ve felt it in greater patience with and love for my children. I’ve felt it in a release of my need to control everything and everyone. I’ve felt it in a deeper ability to appreciate the blessings in my life. And I’ve felt it in the way losing a child has put me in a position to minister to others.

We face this Christmas without our little man. It is hard, and it hurts. My heart bleeds. Just as I’m sure it rent the heart of Jesus’ mother, after the joy of her angel-proclaimed son’s birth, to live through his death. But Christmas is about a baby. A baby whose purpose was fulfilled by dying. Christmas shows me that sometimes the truest life can only be realized in death. Our son’s name, Dominic, means “belonging to the Lord”. And I am fully convinced that, because he is in the hands of the Lord, the miracle God has in store from our baby’s birth has only just begun.

Christmas is about a baby. And about the rationality-defying, crazy grace-bestowing miracle that somehow, through that baby, brought life out of death.  Maybe it is at Christmas that we get the best glimpse of how, when the Lord is at work, the worst of life can become the very means by which He helps us experience the best of life. Of how this God-baby brings good out of bad, joy out of pain, life out of death. This is the gift of Christmas, and the gift to which I cling – that in the hands of God, even death can be the delivery system for His miracle of life.

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