by Lisa Schnyders
Fourteen years ago, the way I viewed Christmas changed a bit. See it was that December that we were waiting for a December baby of our own. It was that December that the idea of waiting took on a new meaning. We just couldn’t wait for that day when we would get to meet our baby. Anna made her arrival two days after Christmas, but she still managed to change the way I see it in so many ways.
Much like our celebrations leading up to Christmas, there was a lot of hoopla leading up to her arrival. There weren’t any Christmas programs, choir rehearsals, Ladies Teas, Christmas lists , or photo shoots, but we did get a nursery ready, made a registry, attended showers, read articles, prayed, considered names, washed laundry, dreamed, and waited.
And finally the day we’d been waiting for came. She arrived! Yea! Celebrations and great joy and excitement! She arrived, she arrived!
And then she stayed. And to be honest, we had spent so much time thinking about the arriving that we hadn’t given all that much thought to the staying.
While we anticipated it, we didn’t realize how that little baby would completely change our lives. All those months and months of preparation and dreaming didn’t stop at her arrival. Instead it kicked off years and years of learning and loving, of doing life together. Times were we got it right, and more times when we got it wrong. Easy times, hard times, challenging times, heartbreaking times, times of bright happiness, times of great laughter, times of confusion, times of pain, and times of great, great joy. Through everything, we’ve been together.
It reminds me that Christmas isn’t the end of the story; it really isn’t even the beginning. The story begins with a God who loved us enough to plan our rescue. The story brings us to Christmas which marks the coming of Immanuel, “God with us.” While we pause at Christmas to celebrate, we aren’t just celebrating a birthday, a few hours of revelry for all and then it’s over. We’re celebrating God with us, day in, day out. We’re celebrating the time when God completely changed the course of our life, a God who rescued us from death. This baby isn’t meant to just want to pop into our lives like a grandchild or niece of nephew who we play with for a bit and then send home; He wants to live with us, change our lives, and help us understand love in a way we just couldn’t before He entered in. Christmas may be over, but the real excitement of life with Jesus continues. This baby we’ve been waiting for will change our lives.