Thursday, December 25, 2014

Can I Hold Him?

There's something special about this time of year. Something happens around Christmas time that doesn't happen often enough; it's far too easy not to think about such things in, say, June. See, Christmas invites us into this very sacred moment. It's a moment when God Himself makes an appearance in the most miraculous of ways. When an out-house becomes a makeshift home. When a mother is all awash in that inexplicable glow. When a father beams with pride. And when a newborn baby cries out to be held.

It's that last bit that's so precious about Christmas.

Most of the rest of the year, we're often begging God to hold us. We're longing to be in His arms. We want to trust Him, to rest in Him, to feel His heartbeat as we press against His chest. Most of our prayers tend this way, they tend toward us being the precious child in the arms of God. Christmas...only us the chance to taste faith the other way around, just for a brief moment.

And maybe it's just the feminine side of me that thinks such things, but there's just something about babies. Right? I can't imagine myself in the stable without asking Mary what I most want to ask her:

Can I hold Him?

Can I hold your baby close to my heart? Can I wrap Him in my arms? Can I feel His warmth against my skin? There's just something so magical about babies, about the way they sink into you and become a part of you and you can feel what they're feeling for you even without words.

It's the way they wriggle just a little bit and then settle into your arms, trusting. Hold the baby Jesus this Christmas; can you feel Him trusting you? He trusts you so much that He put His Holy Spirit into you to do something incredible with.

It's the way they fumble their little fingers around until they're wrapped around yours and won't let go. Feel His little hands hold onto yours; can you feel Him choosing you? He's got hold of you, even by the tiniest little thing, but He's never going to let you go.

It's the way they look up at you and can't help but twist their mouth into a little smile. Look into His eyes; can you see Him looking back at you? He can't help but smile when He sees you. He really can't help Himself.

It's the way they come to rest against your skin, lulled by the faint sensation of your heartbeat against their little bodies. Sense Him settling into you; can you feel His comfort? He hears the very beat of your heart, and He's completely at home with you. Your heart is soothing to Him.

It's about...the incredible peace that a baby has when he's in your arms, and this baby Jesus is no different. He's at perfect peace with you. It's why He confidently trusts, chooses, delights in, and settles into you.

It's so easy to forget that during the rest of the year. It's so easy to get fixated on being a child in God's arms, on learning to trust Him and choose Him and delight in Him and settle into Him with that perfect sort of peace. Christmas...only Christmas...reminds us it is just as much, if not more, the other way around. It is God who trusts in us. It is God who chooses us. It is God who can't help but smile every time He sees us looking at Him. It's God who hears our heartbeat and is completely at home in us. That's what Christmas is about; it's about God coming to be these things to us, in the form of a baby boy.

And we only get that this time of year, when we tiptoe into the quiet manger and ask Mary the question we so deeply want to ask her:

Can I hold Him?

Yes. Lord, yes. That is why He came.

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