Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel... God with us. Matthew 1:23 KJV
That first Christmas, the nativity scene, a young virgin girl about to give birth to the Savior. Given the choice, she might have drafted her own very, first Christmas list:
- A room at the inn
- A clean place to have this baby
- Someone, perhaps my mother or cousin, to help deliver this child
- Safety for this baby from King Herod
After the angel appeared to her with the news she was pregnant with Jesus, she knew her road would be difficult... explaining a virgin birth to her fiancee, fear of what might happen if he did not believe her, and concern for her safety if she ended up alone and pregnant. But did she know the circumstances of her delivery would also be so challenging? Riding a donkey so late in pregnancy to get to Bethlehem, only to be told there was no room at the inn and they would have to stay in a barn with animals, where she would deliver her child.
Her journey to motherhood was not what she every expected.
For waiting adoptive mothers, the same can often be said. As little girls, we stuck a pillow under our shirt to pretend we were pregnant, never know for many of us, that we may never get any closer to actually being pregnant. Or for others, experiencing loss after loss as pregnancies are not successful.
Our journey to motherhood is not what we expect. And on our Christmas list? A baby. A child. To be mommy.
But like Mary, we have a journey, a path to take to arrive where we need to be. Our story will be unique, like Mary's, and will become part of who we are, of who our child is.
God's hand is working for each of us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is very present through the Holy Spirit, providing peace and comfort and encouragement. His hand is present with your child and your child's first mother. Perhaps your child has not yet been conceived. He knows. He knows that paths you will each take to come together.
I would encourage you this Christmas, to think about your Christmas list a little differently. You may not be able to do much to make your dream become reality by Christmas, but perhaps you can step outside of your world and help make someone else's Christmas wishes a reality.
- Choose a gift for a struggling young family, give of your time and talents to someone who really needs them, offer your services to give a caregiver some respite. Helping others is a beautiful way to make a difference in their world.
- Acknowledge those in your life that you may overlook. A sincere 'thank you' via phone or in person to someone goes a long way. Delivering baked goods to someone who would never expect it of you -- even if you buy them!
- Brightening the Christmas of nurses, policeman, or firefighters who are on duty for Christmas. Acknowledging someone's service makes them feel appreciated, something often lacking on holidays they are required to work.
- Hug or smile freely! Many people are living with secret hurts. Be warm and welcoming, letting them know you care. Smile at strangers and wish them Merry Christmas!
- Become a prayer warrior. Pray for your child, pray for your child's birth mother and birth family. Pray for others in your life who you know need it, and then pray for those that you don't think need it.
Getting out of a mindset of focusing on what we lack, puts us in a place of service and gratitude. This is where we begin to truly feel God's peace, where we are welcoming Emmanuel, God with us.
God bless you this Christmas and always.