Friday, December 24, 2010

God’s Perfect Gift

I touched those perfect, tiny hands, curled and warm, as I swaddled Him in soft, clean cloth.  His bright grey eyes studied me as I drank in every detail of his face.  I wanted to make sure that I remembered every moment of this night.  His eyelids drooped sleepily, and I wondered, “Is this really my son?  God’s son?  He’s so soft and warm in my arms.  Can this tiny being be anything at all besides on ordinary baby?  Is He really the Messiah?  The Savior of the world?  How do I do this, God?  Please help me.”

So many times as He grew, I felt His small hand slip into mine.  I would look at Him and see His flashing, brown eyes watching me, so full of love and trust that I wa s overwhelmed.  Each time I looked into His eyes, questions flooded my mind.  “Does He know?  Does He understand?  He seems like a regular boy.  Am I doing this right?  What if I make a mistake?  Please God, help me.”

Then, the secret fear I had carried in my heart for twelve years became a crushing reality.  He was missing!  “NO!” I cried to both Joseph and God.  “They can’t have Him yet.  It’s too soon!  He’s too young.  It isn’t time…I’m not ready.” 

“Not yet, God. Not yet,” I prayed over and over again, all the while Joseph and I looked for Him.  I don’t believe I ever stopped crying or praying.  Finally, after three heartbreaking, terrifying days, we found Him.  There He was, in the Temple.  When I saw Him, saw that He was safe; I was so relieved that my knees went weak.  I started to be angry with Him. “How could He have done this to me, to Joseph?  What a thoughtless child!”  I took His hand firmly in mine, to lead Him away and home.  At just that moment, I saw His eyes.  Those solemn, brown eyes, so wise.  And what I saw in them took my breath away.  He knew.  In that instant, I realized that He understood, and the knowing had changed Him.  “Now what do I do, God?  Does He still need me?  I still need Him.  How do I go on from today?  Please God, help me.”

After that day, time just flew by.  He was a little boy and then I turned around and He was leaving home.  He said it was time for Him to begin His mission.  I could never have imagined how hard it was to say goodbye.  I knew He had to go; He had a job to do, but every time I thought how far away from home He would be going and what the angel had said, I wasn’t sure I could stand it. 

I actually did survive that goodbye and gradually my life went back to normal, mostly.  It’s funny, though, how things happen sometimes, isn’t it?  To fill some of the emptiness, I agreed to help a friend with a wedding.  It was good to be busy.  And then I looked up from the table, and there He stood.  Oh! It was so good to see Him, to just be in the same place at the same time.  Things were going so well, and then we heard that the host had run out of wine.  The wedding would be ruined!  How awful for the bride!  I hurried over to Him and asked His advice.  I couldn’t remember when He’d gotten so tall.  I told Him what had happened and asked for His help.  His response was sharper than I’d expected.  But He took my hand and His penetrating, brown eyes softened as if to say, “But for you mother, I will.”  Instantly, I knew.  I understood.  He had outgrown me.  It wasn’t mine to do anymore.  “Please God, help me.”

The next time I looked into His beautiful brown eyes, they were so clouded with pain that I had to struggle for breath.  He bore a pain I could not ease with a touch; pain I could  not kiss away.  His hands were covered with blood from the nails that held Him on the cross.  He was looking down at me and telling His friend John to watch over me.  I couldn’t stand it!  Even at that moment, in that pain, He knew.  He understood that I could not go through this by myself.  “Please God, help me.”

Not long after that, I held those gentle, life-giving hands again, only now they were cold and stiff.  I cleaned the blood away and gently wrapped Him in soft, clean cloth.  His loving, brown eyes were closed.  I gently ,took off that hideous crown.  My hot tears ran down over His face.  “This is my son,” I thought.  I hadn’t been ready for this.  My heart couldn’t possibly keep beating while my son lay dead in my arms.  “Please God, help me.”

And now, I look, once more, into my son’s victorious eyes.  My son? God’s son; my Savior.  He was dead and now He lives.  I look at His scarred hands and at last I know.  I finally understand.  He has done what no one else could do.  He has conquered sin and death.  Because He lives, someday I will open my eyes and meet His limitless gaze.  I will take his nail-pierce hands and stand with the redeemed as we sing praises to Him.  Now I know; I understand.  He did it all for me.

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