A Little Bird Brings HOPE on Christmas Eve

Posted on Dec 24, 2011 in Faith | 69 comments

I have always loved Christmas Eve’s candle lighting service. But six 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 prior, at the 20-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 weekend, 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 remember being 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 six years since). Immediately, God reminded me that as much as He cares for a sparrow, He cares for me much more (see Matthew 10:31). The bird’s unique presence also reminded me of God’s presence with me. The verse we often quote at Christmastime, Matthew 1:23, was becoming increasingly personal to me: “‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’— which means, ‘God with us.’” I was sensing “God with me.” Looking back, I believe IMMANUEL was entering my world, engaging me with His love…He was crossing the mysterious barriers of time and space and proving His name to me. He knew how alone and helpless I felt. I remember this moment as if it happened yesterday. It was the moment God’s light penetrated my darkness. It was when HOPE appeared.

But God wasn’t finished speaking to me. This 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 church. In His great 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. I will never forget 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 that light does its best work in darkness.

My prayer this Christmas is that you, too, will experience the miracle of Immanuel. I fully believe the most lavish gift we were created to enjoy is “God with us.” His presence is a mystery, yet it is a GIFT of love and light He graciously offers each and every one of us. No matter our past or present darkness, may we receive God’s gift of Jesus and enjoy unwrapping His love which never ends!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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