Many years ago I was expecting our first child and contemplating how Mary felt. I wondered how she could ride that donkey when I could barely ride in the car. Our first-born son came into this world early Christmas morning. I wondered how Mary felt about how she was to nurture the God and Savior of the world and raise him to fulfill his earthly mission. Overwhelmed she probably put the thoughts to the back of her mind and focused on feeding and other immediate needs.
Holding our son, I thought how I was to nurture and raise this child, that he was and is a gift from God, given for brief time, he would always belong to God. This year when we took him to the airport to say good-bye for two years, I knew this was the day I had tucked away that long ago Christmas morning. I raised him to serve others and God and now he was going to a foreign country for two years on a mission, giving up his college, dating, and job prospects to serve full-time a people he was unfamiliar with in a language he did not know. I held my breaking heart while we said good-bye and then he broke down. The time had come for him to walk through the security gate and go on without us. “Take all the time you need son,” his father said. We held him and told him he could do this; he could choose to walk through the gate or not we would still love him. Up to this point we had always been there for him and could walk him through any situation. When he started college we were only a phone call or text away. Now he could only write us, e-mail once a week, and call on Christmas and Mother’s Day, those were the rules and he had agreed to follow them when he agreed to accept his mission call. Now faced with that gate that would separate us it was the hardest steps he had to make and we could do nothing but love him.
He got his composure and walked bravely through the security gate. We miss him and he misses us but his decision gave us peace. Courage gives us peace.
We recently went to a symphony concert and the conductor related an experience that was very frustrating and how someone went out of their way to help him, “Peace isn’t the absence of chaos and noise, it is in the midst of chaos and noise.” He also encouraged us to be the gift. This touched me because we had a lot of chaos and noise in the past week. Our youngest had pneumonia and was home when I needed to be preparing for Christmas and deadlines. The basement flooded. Yet each of these was actually a good thing. The pneumonia was caught very early and recovery has been well. The flood was a clog in the storm drain that my husband found early and he remembered a plumber who usually didn’t do emergency calls but his heart was softened and he helped us out. We were blessed. In the chaos and noise we were blessed with peace and understanding. We could feel God’s love for us. He is always watching over us.
When my children were infants and toddlers I sang them Silent Night as a lullaby, it didn’t matter what time of year.
Silent Night! Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child. Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace; Sleep in heavenly peace.
Merry Christmas and May you thrive in peace. With all my love to family and friends (sorry I didn’t get the cards out this year) and to all of you who read this.