In many ways, I've been dreading this Christmas season. Yet another year has come and gone, and I am still not pregnant. I am certainly not celebrating baby's first Christmas. Two years have passed since Aaron and I sat in our car, stuck in a snowstorm on the way to West Virginia, and talked dreamily about how next year we'd probably be a family of three for the holidays. A year has passed since I thought that despite the disappointments of 2005, surely I would at least be pregnant by the end of 2006. I dare not hope for 2007. And not only is Christmas a painful reminder of the children we do not yet have, it is a season focused on the holiness of a birth. We tell and re-tell the amazing story of a virgin who conceived, for goodness' sake. I love the story, believe it with all my heart, but yet there is something about that miracle that can bring a small ache to my infertile soul.
So I dreaded Christmas this year. But God has mercifully given me a new measure of joy, instead of the heartache I anticipated. My circumstances are still difficult, my trial is not over, my temptations still press in. Yet I find myself singing. As we sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in church a couple weeks ago, the Spirit illuminated to me the words, "Late in time behold him come, offspring of a virgin's womb." At first, I felt that pang, but then I really thought about those lyrics. Though he was suddenly and unexpectedly conceived (from a human perspective), Christ's birth was long awaited. A barren world yearned for centuries for the Messiah to come. Thousands lived and died, hoping for the birth of a Savior, trusting God's promise of a Redeemer. Human hearts were sick with sin and deferred hope. Then, oh miraculous act of love, God became man, took on flesh as a tiny infant. Immanuel. God with us. God with us in our deepest suffering. God with us to rescue us from his own wrath against our sin. God with us to give us himself.
This month, every time I think of the anguish of the past couple of years and the anxiety about the upcoming year, I remember. "Late in time behold him come." My years of waiting to conceive are small in comparison to the centuries that the world waited for the Savior to be born. My suffering - though still weighty - is infinitely lighter because I live after that birth, after Christ bore the burden of my sins. I am waiting for a baby, but I am not waiting for a Redeemer. I trust and hope that I will see my child's face one day; I know with certainty that I will see my Lord's face in heaven.
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In case you've noticed my blogging hiatus, I say with abject humility that I have better reasons for it than Adam. In fact, I have about 55 reasons. Here are a few of them:
Aren't they precious reasons? Last Sunday, our church presented its children's Christmas musical. As director and co-author of the program, I've had my hands full. I am so grateful to the Lord for blessing the creation and production of this musical. The kids proclaimed the good news of Christmas with great joy through song and drama, and we were all delighted.
If you've been paying close attention, you might remember the footnote to this post. The best laid plans of mice and men and all that, but due to travel, a mission presentation, and musical rehearsals, I've only heard 2 complete sermons since September. Lord willing, I can reboot this part of the blog soon!