My two-month-old son was sick this week, so I kept him with me during our weekly worship service rather than leave him in our church nursery. Frankly, a sick baby was the last thing I needed. There is so much going on in this season that any detour seems a much bigger deal than it would be at any other time of the year.
He was quiet, nestled in his car seat until the special music portion of our service. As the singer took the stage, I took him from his carrier and cradled him, and he quickly fell asleep.
The singer began her song - a prayer from the perspective of Mary, mother of Jesus, as she first held the newborn. Mary asks God that the one she holds will know the very peace God promises. She reminds him that he can always return to his mother.
In a moment orchestrated by God, the weight of the Christmas story descended. As I held my own miracle in my arms, I realized that intensity and reverence of that moment between Jesus and Mary was something I could learn from.
It goes without saying that the first Christmas and the modern celebration are vastly different. It was much more quiet, and not just in oratory volume, but in distractions. Sometimes God has to remind us of the peace he offers through Jesus Christ.
There has been much speculation about Mary and what was going through her head as the angel first told her of her pregnancy or when she delivered. We can gather from Scripture that Mary was an avid follower of Scripture, a humble person and certainly a strong young woman. I think it's safe to say that she probably felt the same things we, as mothers, all feel: joy and, perhaps, a bit of fear.
Regardless of what emotion you feel, it's important to remember that Jesus came to bring us peace - that is what this season is all about. Convincing us that the holiday should be covered in stress is one of the more clever tricks of the darkness.
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33, NIV) Tears welled in my eyes as I held my son. I found myself praying over him, rather than worrying about the things I had yet to tick off my to-do list. In the quiet of that moment, I was reminded of the preciousness of that most perfect gift at Christmas.
Email Jamie H. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.