image

Christmas – Witnessing Son’s Birth

Illustration for Christian speaker.

Here’s a story you might be able to use during the Christmas season. I wrote it some time ago as a new father awed by the birth experience. It gave me an unexpected window on the Christ Child.

MANCHILD

Steven Mosley

Her forehead wet, her cheeks flushed, she lies wrapped
in white, reminding me of Lazarus writhing out of the cave
with a new life.  I stand by the bed feeling like a gawky
appendage.
It is 10 P.M.  All the carefully memorized contraction
sequences flow together indecipherably, like so much
static.  Beside a silver pitcher of water on the night
stand, a machine resembling a seismograph steadily rolls out
lined paper.  The ink jerks jagged and erratic.  I know they only
measure my wife’s contractions, but as I keep staring at the
slow, steep crescendo and feel her hand grip mine hard, the
machine seems malevolent, as if it were the cause of these
abdominal assaults.
A few times during the long night there are lulls in
the struggle.  My wife rests.  I retreat to a couch and try
to sleep, but my mind fastens on another, distant scene.
I wonder, how did the Heavenly Father feel while Mary
labored in that Bethlehem
barn?  Surrounded by adoring angels and the glories of
heaven, what did He think about delivering His babe into the
quagmire of this earth?  I can almost picture Him pacing
back and forth among the cherubim.
Back in the labor room a little electric dot jogs
around its track.  Fetal heartbeat they say.  I prefer not
to understand.  The signs I do know about are unnerving
enough.
I continue rubbing her back, counting and breathing
rhythmically, and lifting her up.  Still I can’t get into
where the blows strike.  I’m in another world.
The Sovereign God had to wait too–as if helpless,
staring at His palms, taking a back seat to cows and
shepherds.  He was no amateur attendant.  His hands had not
lost their skill since fashioning the orchids, gazelles and
DNA of this planet.  Yet He must remain hidden.  Disarmed.
The nurses have been kind and firm through the sluggish
early morning hours.  But my winded mate has long ago given
up being gutsy.  She takes all the medication her groans can
squeeze out of them.
Finally our infant makes a telling move.  They roll her
into a delivery room full of stainless steel.  I sneak in
behind a green gown and am surrounded by an ominous array of
instruments and pale green sterility.  While I wipe her
forehead, she is spread-eagled and harnessed for the big push.
I can’t help thinking of an experimental aircraft buzzing
over a cliff on its first attempt.
I imagine the suspense that must have hung over
Bethlehem.  God was to become man–the once-in-eternity
event.  Everything depended on that tiny, frail life
struggling in the womb.  The fate of the human race hung in
the balance.
Before my tense senses the doctor grabs steel forceps.
Great claws they are, looking like something from Joe’s
Garage.  He inserts them (blindly it seems) around those
tiny eyes, lips, nose—gets a good grip and pulls hard,
grunting like a stevedore.  The baby doesn’t budge.
Then I remember the Father and the clumsy hands that
seized His Son.  A sensitive, guileless youth given up into
the hands of hardened men–what more foolhardy thing could
this God have done?  His heavenly character is lost on us.
We fumble and grab rudely at a treasure grossly
misunderstood.
And Pilate delivered Him up to the will of the mob.
Their voices prevail.  When Christ’s arms are yanked across
the wood I see the Father involuntarily stretch out His arm,
cringing.  The cry pierces.
Suddenly a manchild is plopped down warm on my wife’s
stomach.  He is there.  I don’t know how.  He still grimaces
from the violence of his arrival.  My heart stops.  His cry
pierces.  He gasps in the cold, arms waving helplessly as
those of a man falling through black, featureless space.
Could the Christ have been like this?  God Almighty
smudged with dark blood, squinting in the strangeness, head
distended, limbs unwieldy as crowbars.
After our child is bathed, measured and clothed, I run
from nursery window to my wife’s bedside reporting each
momentous event–his tongue is moving; he’s staring at his
left hand.
There in the recovery room we need to release our
exhilaration heavenward.  Fluid with the miracle that has
just passed through us, we pour out a prayer of thanksgiving
to God.  The weariness of the long night is gone.
And the Father too rejoiced in the Messiah’s birth,
though knowing every detail of Jesus’ coming sacrifice.  It
was a potent love welling up in the Almighty that opened His
hands and delivered the Infant into our calloused ones.  To
draw us to Himself, he became vulnerable.  He saw many other
sons, twice-born, emerging from the dark like Lazarus,
writhing with a new life.

Condensed from the book “Glimpses of God,” by Steven Mosley.

Leave a Reply