Friday, December 24, 2010

What It's Like To Have A Baby Boy on Christmas Eve

From the time I knew people existed beyond my immediately family, I have felt a special bond with my Aunt Alice. We were both teachers, we both experienced failed marriages, and we were both blessed with a bunch of beautiful daughters and a son . . . an only son . . . both born on Christmas Eve.
Seven minutes before midnight on December 24, 1985, my Stephen Michael was born amid the comforts of a hospital and with the assistance of a physician. Many years earlier, my aunt gave birth to her James Paul in a car, alone, on a different Christmas Eve.
The year Stephen was born, I thought a lot about Aunt Alice and her Jimmy. I also thought about them on the Christmas Eve my son turned fourteen. I knew we would have a cake. He would open his presents. We’d celebrate until nightfall, and then we would begin to turn our thoughts and minds more completely to the first Christmas Eve.
The year my son turned fourteen, I thought of Aunt Alice, how she would probably be sitting in a church in South Dakota with her family. Probably thinking about Christ’s birth and the birth of her son. For Aunt Alice, though, there would be a space in the seat beside her – filled only with the memory of a tender blond son, killed in a car accident when he was just fourteen years old.
As I sat with my family that year and sang Christmas carols and watched the lights on the Christmas tree, I thanked God for my son’s life. And I prayed, “Not this one. Not this only son of mine, born on Christmas Eve.”
But I knew then – as I know now, that the message of Christmas is more than the message of a baby's birth. The message of Christmas – camouflaged in swaddling clothes, shepherds’ staffs and a proclaiming star – is a cross and an only begotten son, born in a stable. It is the story of a Heavenly Father, and His love for you and me.
It’s the story of a young woman who said yes to God and bore the Messiah, the long awaited Son of God
It’s the story of Jesus Christ, fully God, fully man, who existed from the foundation of the world. The only man who ever chose his own mother. The one who chose his own name before he was even born. The perfect little Lamb of God. Born to die.
Such a precious gift to give, such a terrible price to pay – that I might be redeemed. That I might be eternally saved.


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