This year’s Christmas Eve service at church was wonderful. The anticipation of the season, along with the pageantry, lights, and music was spectacular.
I especially enjoy watching moms with their kids. I watch and remember.
Kids running down the aisle, feeling the freedom of the open space.
One of my kids ran up and laid on the floor right in front of the pastor once. She would not be moved.
I played peek-a-boo with the little boy in front of me and remembered.
An infant’s plaintive cry behind me. The banging of little feet on the chairs ahead of me.
Our pastor has a way of standing with one foot in front of the other, arms gesturing, as if he was bracing himself to support the weight and the power of his words. And the words he spoke were mighty, reaching out to the hearts and souls of the listeners, with light and hope hanging like a fragrance in the air. We all breathed deeply.
Then my gaze shifted to the mama of multiples simply trying to wrangle her kids to keep them in the pew.
And I remembered.
The Lord brought children into my life by surprise. He settled the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children. (Psalm 113:9) It has blessed me in so many ways.
Most significantly, forcing me to think through how different my life would be if there were no small souls left in my care. Through the hardship and the joy, they have taught me that life is so much bigger than my petty needs and wants. I believe I would be bitter and barren, wondering if I had missed the mystery and joy of it all.
Instead I have grown in ways I never expected. My heart has expanded and grown while my temporal resources diminished. It was a holy exchange I will never regret.
I learned the joy and pain of true love, and bumped repeatedly against the limits of unconditional love.
So, on Christmas, I remember all He has done for me.
And I stand before Him as a mother of grown children with empty arms but with hope fulfilled and a lifetime of memories that shine brightly like the lighted candles that expand across the sanctuary.
And I thank Him for the wild ride and privilege of it all.