What Christmas Means for Me this Year

Yew Dell Gardens

My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
For the Mighty One has done great things for me, 
Holy is His Name.

Luke 1:46-49

Last Christmas morning I thought today would be much different.  

In the early hours of the day I would have been woken up by the faint sound of a baby's cry, calling for her mama to feed her.  As I sat in the faint light of Christmas morning, the little girl would have nuzzled me and brought me warmth.  My heart would have swelled with great joy and pride at this beautiful creature that had been gifted to me.  I would have thought about how Mary would have felt over 2,000 years ago as she gently held the Christ child.  I would have been in awe that I could share this form of basic humanity with her.  I would have been full of such great love.  

But that was not meant to be.

Instead, this morning I woke up with a 3 1/2 year old child kicking my back.  We had a late night getting to bed and all of us paid for it, my sore back included.  The clock showed it was only a little past five in the morning.  Instead of being greeting by the sound of a baby's cry, I was flooded with a wave of pain.  I could feel my heart in my chest throb with a great ache.  Almost a year later, I was sure a hole had ebbed away at it, leaving next to nothing, since I lost that dream of a child.

Today would have been Ezraela Eaven's first Christmas.  

In just a few short days she would have been 7 months old.

My mind went back to last Christmas and all of the joy and anticipation that it held for the following year.  And unbeknownst to me, in a few short days that joy would be ripped away from me.

My life would be changed forever.  

In the dark, cold of the morning, tears began to fall.  

After replaying a litany of events from last Christmas, I began to really think of how Mary would have felt at the first Christmas.  She had traveled almost 69 miles at 40 weeks pregnant, most likely on foot, from Nazareth to Bethlehem at the whim of some egocentric Caesar to take a census.  I remember when I was pregnant with Alexandria (my 3 1/2 year old) in the last trimester and it pained me to walk just a mile, much less 69.  Because she had gotten pregnant before she was married, the would have been a lot of shame and ostracism placed on her by her family and friends.  Even though there was great joy in her heart because she was carrying the Messiah, the Savior, there was also most likely a great sense of fear for the unknown.  

After the birth of Jesus, shepherds arrived after being told by an angel that the Messiah had been born. They told everyone what they saw and what the angels said to them.  Luke 2:19 says, "But Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart."  

I am sure there were tears of joy when Jesus was born, but I wonder how many more tears of grief were there throughout Christ's life by his mother.  Starting when they had to flee to Egypt after Herod threatened to kill all of the infants because of Jesus.  How many moments had Mary held in heart heart and replayed at the moment when Jesus, the Savior of the World, was crucified on the cross for the sins of all humanity. And how many years did she live after his death and resurrection, torn between sadness for the loss of her son and joy and anticipation because she knew she would see him again.  

Even though I am a far cry from Mary and the circumstances around Ezraela's pregnancy and birth (and death) were much different from Christ's, when I think of this tiny baby in a manger, I cannot help but think of my Ezraela.  And perhaps it is fitting to cry tears of sadness on Christmas morning because the birth of Jesus would ultimately lead to the death of Jesus.  And to wonder about the agony that his mother must have went through as she stood next to John and watched him die.  But perhaps it is also fitting to cry tears of sorrowful hope. Because we know that Christ rose from the dead three days later.  And we too will be raise. And because of that hope, I will see my sweet Ezraela one day.  

And this year, as narrow as it may be (it seems my entire year has been seen with tunnel vision), this is what Christmas means to me.  

And maybe tonight I can sleep in Heavenly Peace.  

My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
My soul magnifies the Lord
He has done great things for me
Great things for me

Yew Dell Gardens


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