A Bird in a Window

Posted on Dec 24, 2012 in Faith | 69 comments

This revised blog post is dedicated to each and every person suffering this Christmas due to the December 14th massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.  My prayers are with you. 

I have always loved Christmas Eve’s candle lighting services.  But seven years ago, on December 24, 2005, I knew I would not be going to our church’s service that night.  It was a very dark day for me… I had spent most of it in bed, alternating between crying and trying to sleep.  Less than 48 hours before, at the 19-week ultrasound of my fifth child, I had learned the baby within me had a couple abnormalities that could prove “fatal,” my doctor had said.  I would need to have an amniocentesis to learn with certainty if my baby would live or die.  And because it was right before Christmas, this department of the hospital had already shut down.  I was told I would need to wait until the following week to learn the fate of my baby, another precious son.

I had no idea how I would make it through Christmas weekend.  I had no idea how I could possibly be a happy mommy to my four other darling children–ages 9, 8, 6 and 3 at the time.  I didn’t want to rob them of their Christmas joy, but, honestly, I just wanted it to be Monday.

At some point in the afternoon, I got out of bed and walked into my bathroom.  I was very surprised to see a little bird on the windowsill overlooking our backyard, fluttering its wings.  In eight years of living in our house I had never seen a bird in that window–nor have I in the seven years since.  Immediately I was reminded that as much as God cares for a sparrow, He cares for me even more (see Matthew 10:29-31).

The bird’s unique presence also reminded me of God’s presence with me.  The Scripture we often quote at Christmastime was becoming personal:  “‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:23).  Through the bird, God was telling me He was with me.  Looking back, I believe IMMANUEL was entering my world–my pain–engaging me with His love.  He was crossing the mysterious barriers of time and space and proving His name to me.  I remember this moment as if it happened yesterday.  It was the moment God’s light penetrated my darkness… when HOPE appeared.

But God wasn’t finished speaking to me.  The little bird also caused me to think of a little boy who was to be celebrated that night.  God was gently taking my eyes off me and the uncertain life of my son and refocusing them on Him and the certain life of His.  He was reminding me it was Christmas Eve, a night we honor Jesus, my Savior and Lord.  He was leading me to our church’s candle lighting service.  In His infinite wisdom and compassion, I believe He wanted my eyes to be on Jesus, for He already knew the strength I would need in the days, weeks and months to come.

I will never forget that Christmas Eve, holding up my lighted candle in a darkened sanctuary in praise and worship to Jesus, “the light of the world” (John 8:12).  Although it was the most difficult Christmas Eve I have ever experienced, it was also the most meaningful.  I suppose it only makes sense light does its best work in darkness.

My prayer for anyone suffering this Christmas is to experience the miracle of Immanuel–“God with us.”  His presence is a mystery, but it is a gift He graciously gave each one of us when Jesus was born.  “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).  No matter our past, no matter our current pain, no matter what tomorrow brings, may we receive God’s gift of Jesus TODAY and begin unwrapping His love which never ends!

Merry CHRISTmas!


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