This Christmas there are some really special babies who, like baby Jesus, bring us hope and joy. Unlike Jesus, they are not able to save us from our sins, pay our debts, and reward us with life we do not deserve. But they point to Him all the same.
One of the babies that came this Christmas season is named Avery. She was born six weeks early and had serious heart complications. I cannot even fathom the hell my friends have been in as they have had to endure the complete inability to “fix” her. Even the doctors didn’t know if it could be done.
She was out of everyone’s hands…except God’s. The prayer, the agony, the waiting for answers that everyone who know’s Avery’s family has experienced–is torturous.
Avery’s birth reminds us of the Nativity in a way that is so poignant that sometimes I don’t know how I could have missed it all these years. Of course the Nativity can be represented in the ceramic figures displayed on the mantel. Yes, it’s depicted on painted ornaments and sung in carols; but when do we FEEL the full force of this joyous occasion?
I think we truly feel it in that moment of birth. That moment when we hold our newly swaddled infant in our arms and cannot comprehend the love and joy this tiny person elicits from us. Oh, to be Mary. How did she swaddle her infant–how did she rock him and what lullabies did she use?
Who needs the swaddling? Who needs the sense of security–the feeling of being held? Who needs the lullabies to soothe and comfort a “fuss,” a hurt, a loss, a diagnosis, a death, a fear?
We do. We need the comfort and joy of Christ—and I’ll tell you what, we especially need it when something goes wrong. When something so wonderful as birth goes awry with complications, we need to be swaddled too.
There were good tidings of great joy when Avery came into the world. There were also tears of great sadness and fear that she would not be here long. But then there were more good tidings–even better tidings announced when her heart started performing and with what would have only taken a miracle, was performed with a miracle. In just the few weeks she’s been here, Avery has pointed people towards Christ.
She’s shown us that we are all vulnerable, weak babes who need a Father. We need–we want to be held and swaddled, protected from this impossible trajectory of a life without him.
This year I have a living example of the Nativity. She’s in the ICU and will be there for a while. She is surrounded by family and friends who share the good news both of Avery’s birth and Christ’s life.
I read a brilliant Nativity devotional a few weeks ago and this post is largely inspired by what I read in it. One of the things the author, Jill Carattini said about Christmas is that we get “to remember our fragility, our dependency, and the great reversal of the kingdom of God: For God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”