This Christmas as we looked forward to celebrating Christ’s birth, the Cleveland family was also preparing for the birth of a new member of our own family. Another side of the reality of Jesus being transferred to earth in the most vulnerable position possible became clear. Why do we make our Christmas celebrations so trivial compared to this amazing mystery?
Last spring we learned of our daughter’s trauma and pregnancy, who being only 14, was not the least bit ready for parenthood. We got through the stigmas, long stares, and the physical and logistical adjustments. The baby was due over Christmas break. “How convenient!” said the doctor. We had some time to get ready. But meeting our first grandchild was something we were not prepared for. We were even less prepared to let her go.
An adoption was arranged and many hurdles were navigated along the way. Counseling appointments, doctor visits and school meetings crowded the calendar. Then came the day that she was born. All the planning gave way to reality.
Baby Allegra was quiet and sweet, with thoughtful eyes, intently searching our faces. She had a dimpled chin like my daughter. Did we really have to let her go? It felt unbearable.
I wonder what the conversation was like between the Godhead when they decided that Jesus would be adopted out to humans. Given away. Put into the hands of an untested teenager. Did He really have to go? What were the Father and Son feeling? Did the Holy Spirit comfort them?
No doubt the Father has been accused of not knowing what He is doing but this had to be the ultimate. In that day the infant mortality rate must have been staggering. Jesus was born during the reign of a narcissistic and maniacal ruler who would murder babies and toddlers just because he felt threatened. Wasn’t there at least better timing for His birth? And to put that poor girl through labor while traveling and stuck in the crudest and dirtiest kind of birthing room? It just didn’t make sense.
We often imagine that the choices that God makes are out of a super-spiritual vacuum void of emotion. As if God calculates A+B=’s C and then activates the outcome, regardless of His feelings on the matter or how it might affect His children. It is mind bending to think to what extent God avoided taking shortcuts to lessen the discomfort, inconvenience, or pain in being with us in a human body on earth. But once we understand, it is humbling. It motivates our response of love even more. And it puts to the test the lies in our head that God really doesn’t love us. Or that He doesn’t really understand what we are going through.
So, open up the arms of your heart, and take in the outrageous love that Jesus’ birth embodied. He is waiting for you.