My first two children were born in a hospital located in a larger metropolitan city complete with private rooms and decent food that could be ordered off a menu at any time.
But my third child wasn’t born in this kind of hospital.
He was supposed to be, yes. But he was a little too antsy to get into the world and my contractions were quickly two minutes apart.
We lived an hour from the hospital where I had birthed the other two. It was five o’clock in the early evening and construction lined the highway. It wasn’t looking like I would make it to the hospital we had planned.
Not to mention that when my husband received “the call,” he was smack-dab in the middle of providing a root canal for an unlucky patient.
And so we pulled-up to a hospital much-closer and showed-up to have a baby.
No one knew us becauase my prenatal appointments were all with my doctor in Indianapolis.
No one had our insurance information.
No one was prepared for the hysterical third-time mom begging for her epidural RIGHT NOW.
His birth was chaos for it was the most painful of the three.
There was talk of an unexpected C-section which panicked us all.
And my head swelled to the size of a large watermelon as a result of intense pushing.
Not to mention that when I did indeed finally get the much-anticipated epidural, my sweet husband, who faced the anesthesiologist as I draped myself over him, started to ask about the doctor’s tooth he had worked on the previous week.
Not the best time for dental post-op checks.
It was not a silent night.
I think we can also conclude that the night when Jesus was born, it wasn’t so silent either.
The sounds of animals. The painful winces of childbirth. The panicked voice of an about to be new father.
Fear, worry and excitement all wrapped into quivering human voices.
No, probably not a silent not. Certainly not like the silent night we sing of each Christmas Eve.
But it was a real night filled with one very precious gift.
In fact, through this one gift, we receive several gifts.
In the last chapter of Not a Silent Night: Mary Looks Back to Bethlehem, Author Adam Hamilton lists four gifts Jesus gave the world:
1. The Gift of the Way:
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” – John 14:6
Jesus teaches us “the way” to live. Humility instead of pride. Love instead of hate. Truth instead of lies. He shows us “the way” to reconcile with God.
2. The Gift of Love
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Jesus came to show us the heart and character of God and God is love (1 John 4:8). He is not hate. He doesn’t judge like the Pharisees and He doesn’t expect good performance before He bestows His love upon us. Thank God – literally.
3. The Gift of Forgiveness and New Life
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23
Luckily, there is nothing God won’t forgive of a truly humble and repentant heart.
4. The Gift of the Resurrection
Christmas and Easter are inseparable. Jesus was born to die for us – this is the gospel. The gospel is a gift for everyone who chooses to open the package.
When we choose to follow Jesus, there are no guarantees life will be easy. In fact, we’re told in John 16:33 that we will have trouble – not we might.
But we’re also told to “take heart because I’ve (Jesus) overcome the world.”
In the end, God wins. And since God is love . . . love wins.
Thank you for journeying through this Advent study with me, friends. In the comment section below, please answer any of the following questions:
1. What was your biggest take-away from this study?
2. Did this study help you keep perspective during the busy holiday season? How or how not?
3. What did you learn about Mary during this study?
We’ll announce the new study next week. Hope to have you join us!