I truly had no idea how much was
packed into those 5 syllables. Those two words we had been planning for,
praying about, and eagerly anticipating for weeks now.
I loaded up all 20 people into our
8 seater van, climbed up into the driver’s seat to take everyone home after
this special Christmas Eve night at the hospital maternity ward…and the tears
began running down my cheeks. Before I could even start the engine and back the
van out of the hospital parking lot, the weight…the magnitude of this night
came pressing down into my soul. I could not stop thinking, could not stop
feeling, could not stop remembering…the touches, the smiles, the tears, the sobs,
the gratitude, the beauty, the ugly, the joy, the sad. I could not seem to get
the faces out of my mind.
The faces of these women. These
When we first arrived at the
maternity ward, there were fewer mothers than we expected. I was surprised, but
the nurses had sent many of the mothers home for Christmas – the ones who were
at least healed enough to make it home. The ones still remaining…they were the
needy ones. The ones who truly and so desperately needed a Merry Christmas. Who
desperately needed a smile. A hug. And yes, maybe a tear shed, too. Maybe some
sympathy. Some understanding. Someone to care.
These mothers. Some of them alone.
Spending this Christmas in the hospital by themselves. After having lost a firstborn
baby girl. After losing a third born baby boy. After a miscarriage. With their
newborn in an incubator. Thinking. Grieving. Many of them with no one. Many of
These were the mothers who were
left to spend their Christmas in the maternity ward. The Lord knew. He always
does. The Lord knew who would be there, who needed gifts, who needed extra
love. So, because there were fewer women, we were able to spend more precious individual
time talking, praying…loving on each
All that I seemed to be able to do
was hug them, cry with them, smile, laugh, weep – all of it. My emotions just
seemed to pour forth. So many mothers, all with their own personal story. I
wanted to know them all. I wanted to pray for each one. While listening to
their little voices share about their babies and life as the tears streamed
down their cheeks, I wanted to just wrap them in my arms and be able to hug all
of the pain, the hurt, the heartache away.
I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t…
but I knew Who could.
For this special Christmas event,
I took all of the children with me…and then a few more. In the midst of
craziness with mothers, nurses, gift bags, babies, people everywhere…I watched
my daughter. I watched her follow her Mommy everywhere she went. She watched
Mommy cry; she watched Mommy pray; she watched Mommy give. And as she watched
Mommy, Mommy watched her.
Her little face lit up each time
she said those precious special words, “Merry Christmas”. Each time she walked
over with her biggest smile on her face while wearing her cute Christmas red
dress from “Jaja”…and so sweetly handed over the gift goodie bag. I watched as
she leaned in so gently to kiss the newborn baby’s head. All the while, I pray
that she is learning. And not just learning “Christmas”…but learning Jesus. Christmas is Jesus. Christmas is
God. Christmas is giving. Yes, I have grown up my entire life hearing it,
learning it, living it….and thankfully watching it lived out by my own parents
and so many around me. I have given
before…but this time is different. This Christmas is different…I have very many
little eyes watching me as their example.
It is now my turn. Now, it’s my
turn to be the example. Now it is my turn to show my own children what
Christmas is really all about. It’s about a baby named Jesus. It’s about God’s
gift to the world. And now, as His children…as His hands and feet…we give God’s
gift to others. We show His love to one another. We give His precious love to these
mothers and babies. God gave His most precious gift to me at Christmas. I
should give mine to Him.
Of course, that’s what we’re
supposed to do. That’s the cliché I have heard for many years, by so many
people, told to so many children…but it still rings true. And God really seemed
to be pounding it home in my heart as I prepared for this “Hospital Christmas”.
As I pondered what that really is – what is my most precious gift? What can I
truly give to God that is so precious to me? That is as precious as Jesus
Christ, God’s One and Only Son, was to Him? What in the world do I have to give
to Him? What do I have as a gift as precious for Him? God gave away His most
precious gift, His most treasured possession. That is what He gave to me.
So…what must I give to Him?
I have heard many people say,
“Give Him your heart. God give your heart.” But that still doesn’t seem like
enough. I have given Him my heart. Already. He has it. He knows it. So, what
now? As I thought about it, as I thought about giving Him my most precious
gift. My most treasured possession. Just as He gave to me. I asked myself, “What is most precious to me? What is that gift, that possession?”
It’s Jesus. that’s what it is. My
most precious gift, my most treasured possession. Yes, it is Jesus. So…I must
give Jesus to Jesus. I must give Jesus, my most treasured possession, to God.
How? If that is what I must give God in return for giving me His most treasured possession, my
greatest love in the world, how do I do it?
Jesus whispered to my soul, “You must give Me away. Give My love away. Give
your love back to Me, but not in the way you think. By loving others, you love
Me. Yes, you love Me. You have already given your heart, soul, mind, and
strength to Me. I already have your love. So, now…to love Me more, to show Me
more love: Pour My love out of yourself and into the lives of others. Love my
children for me. Be My hands and feet. Give them Me.”
In awe, my soul quietly asks, “Who but You, Jesus? Who but You could give
Yourself to me, so that I can give You away to others? Who but You, could fill
me with Your love, that I may pour it into the hearts and souls of others…and
then fill me up to overflowing again? Who but You?”
These are the questions I ask. The
answer is: Only He, Only He could let Himself be my most precious gift so that
when I give Him away - He just fills me with more of Himself. Only then is He
given back to me ten fold. Only He could be that wonderful and design it that
beautifully. Only He could craft Himself in such a way so that when I give Him
away - I only receive more of Him, more of His love. That when I pour Him out -
He fills me up again to overflowing. Only He…only Jesus.
Jesus is my most precious gift. I
gave Him away that night.
I kept remembering the moments. Not
seeing the baby on the bed beside this mother, I figured the grandmother had
taken the baby for bathing, so as I knelt down beside her bed, I asked the
normal, usual questions, “Where is your baby? Is it a boy or a girl?”
Something inside of me broke. The
happiness of the woman on the bed beside her. The sweet baby boy on the other
bed – other mothers’ Christmas presents. Happy and healthy.
As this mother lies on the bed.
Her baby gone from her. No Christmas gift. No Christmas baby. No excitement.
Only loss and heartache.
I see the tear roll down her
cheek. And mine come flowing quickly. She misses her baby girl. Her first born
child. Who is now being rocked in heaven by the very Baby Jesus whose birth we
will celebrate in fine fashion tomorrow. But sometimes that is of very little comfort
at a time like this, when the pain seems too much to bear. And sometimes the
only words of hope I can offer are, “Jesus loves you. And I do too.” The “I’m
praying for you”, and “Your baby is in heaven now, and it will be ok”…those
words sound so empty even to my own ears.
But I can only hope that maybe somehow
through the smile. Through the watery smile that I am attempting through the
flowing tears and held back sobs. Through the “Merry Christmas”, the hug, the
sympathy, the understanding, the care. Through all of it, but most of all…through
the love. That through it all she will see Jesus. Through the love in my eyes
that I can only hope she sees and feels. That she will know the love that can
only come from the precious Savior who was laid in a manger. His love. That is
the most precious gift. My Jesus. Her Jesus. Our Jesus. Given for us…given for
us so that we might give Him away. Given into our lives so that we might give
Him away into the lives of others. That we might let His love and life pour from
us into another. That through it all this is what she sees.
Christmas. What Christmas is
really all about. Jesus came for the lost and dying and needy.
He came for me. That was me.
He came for the world. That is all
of us without Him.
As I touched each precious face
and held them in my hands, the love was almost overwhelming.
I want them to grow to know that
Jesus was a servant. Jesus was a giver. And that is what He calls us to be…His
servants. His givers. Givers of Himself…of His gospel. And handing those small
gift bags, giving those hugs, smiling into those faces….blessed me more than I
believe I could ever bless anyone else. I walked out of the maternity ward
behind all of my children, family and friends, and the dam of held back tears
broke. I believe the weight of it all truly hit me. I held my 9 month old
daughter as I leaned against a pole outside the maternity ward. “Lord, what is
this? My heart is breaking. I feel like I gave, but Lord, it feels like I gave
so little. So little. What is sugar and soap? What is an baby outfit and salt? What
is a Christmas meal? Lord, they need so much - so much more than I can give.”
“Amy. You gave them Me. You gave them Me. And I am
absolutely 100% all that they will ever need. I am the Healer. The great
Physician. But more than that…I am the Life. I am the Living Water - these who
drink from Me will truly never thirst again. You gave them living water. You
gave them the Bread of Life - you showed them the Way. What more could they ask
for, Amy? What more could they ask for?”
I backed the van out of that
parking lot and headed home.
Jesus. My most precious gift, my
most treasured possession.