He came. Finally. Past the time we’d expected him to show up. Not the way we’d anticipated.
My daughter, Courtney, and her husband, Michael, were expecting their first child. A boy. It’s been a year for boys–this one was the fifth male born into our family this year.
I’d anticipated coming out to help when he was born. When her due date passed, Courtney suggested I wait a few days and get a flight out after her next appointment. At the very worst, the doctor said she’d induce her on December 15.
Ten days before Christmas.
I wanted to give these two as much of my time as I could, to help with tasks around the house like grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry. Just to give them time to rest. They were both exhausted. Labor lasted almost 36 hours after she was induced earlier than anticipated. (The doctor had concerns.)
I arrived in Denver early on December 11. They’d been admitted the day before, and it had been slow going. I was to wait at their home till I got word that the baby had come. I was more than a little tired, having gotten little sleep the night before. A nap sounded wonderful.
Visions of napping quickly flew out of my head when I opened the door and was bulldozed by two large, loving dogs. Foster, a fourteen-year-old Australian shepherd, is a soft-hearted, hairy marshmallow. Wally, a two-year-old sheepadoodle, is the Energizer Bunny on steroids.
Never have I had as much attention paid to me as I did from those two dogs. They were so glad to see me. Even convinced me to go outside to play fetch with them at 3 in the morning when my intent had been just to go to the bathroom.
Being up at that hour, however, allowed me to see the texts on my phone–and realize our much anticipated little guy had finally made his entrance into this world. I was ecstatic–he’d arrived.
He didn’t do anything to earn that devotion from me. He showed up, the son of parents I deeply love.
A Child was born over 2,000 years ago who came in an unexpected way. A King born in humble surroundings, the only One who offers eternal hope. The first to greet him were shepherds who tended the flocks of sacrificial sheep for the Temple. Not a high-class job, but folks who understood the real significance of this birth.
He came to share an outrageous love with us. There’s nothing we can do to earn that love; we can receive it as a gift because His Father created us and didn’t want to lose us.
It’s easy to lose the significance of Christmas amidst the trappings of the holiday. But when faced with a love so grand meeting needs that are so great, settling for a token “Baby in a manger” isn’t enough.
Seeing past the wrapping to the true value of the Gift–outrageous love.
Who wouldn’t be encouraged by that?