I want to share with you a piece of that narration I never could have known would have much deeper meaning in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
To introduce the part of our program that emphasized the birth of Jesus and led into a touching rendition of “Isn’t He Beautiful”, I wrote the following:
What child is born that a mother’s heart doesn’t melt the moment she sees his squirming wrinkled body? What long anticipated newborn comes into this world that a mother’s love doesn’t overflow in a flood of emotion?
The weight of carrying, the pain of labor – all forgotten in the moment of that baby’s first cry. A mother’s heart swells and she is convinced at that moment that her child is more beautiful, more perfect, more amazing than any other.
Mary was no different than other mothers in that respect. But when she gazed upon the infant Savior, she was consumed with much more than motherly love.
Mary saw a miracle, a mystery, a majesty far beyond anything she’d ever experienced. And at that moment, this woman of grace exhaled her last normal oxygen filled breath, and inhaled a new life.
Never again would her lungs expand without the presence of Jesus filling them.
Never again would she speak without the experience of Jesus softening her words.
Never again would her arms reach out without the feel of Jesus in them.
And this is the same for each and every one who lays down the former life and embraces the Christmas miracle.
As those words were shared during the program Sunday, my heart rushed to the parents grieving for lost children in Newtown, Connecticut. A senseless, tragic, unimaginable few moments have left them shattered. There are no words of comfort that could ease their pain, no quote of scripture that will cause the tears to stop falling – at least for a time. Grief, while it may soften, will be their constant companion for the rest of their life.
But the words God gave me for that narration reminded me of what we take for granted every day. We have nothing except what God gives. The people we treasure in this life are merely on loan, sent by God’s grace to enhance our experience. Mary certainly discovered the truth of this when she watched her Son die.
Here is a wonderful reality in a time of great loss. The physical presence of a loved one is gone, but God makes sure the memories are left behind to carry us through our time of grieving.
Like the words in the narration, here is what those parents are left with. They will never again take a breath without the presence of their child filling it, never again speak without the experience of their child softening their words, never again reach out their arms without the feel of their child filling them. The experience of a child, regardless of how short the time span, changes us forever.
Nothing justifies the evil that took those children away.
But God, in His great compassion, will not leave those mothers and fathers bankrupt. He is prepared to fill their emptiness, catch their tears, heal their hearts and gently care for their children until they are reunited in the moment He chooses to bring them together again. Let us pray that through the cloud of pain and grief, they can see the hand of God extended.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4