Family holiday dinners are something I’ve always looked forward to, especially once I became “Mrs. Allen.” Fellowship and laughter fill the room and joy fills my heart. But in this season of our life, these dinners have become bittersweet as I remember our three babies who never made it to the table
If things had turned out differently, I’d have an 11-month-old this holiday season. If our second child had been carried to term, I might be toting around a 4-month-old baby. And if I hadn’t miscarried a third time in June, I’d be 6 months pregnant. Instead, my husband and I are walking into the holiday season barren of earthly children with hearts longing for the babies we lost. The parties and celebrations we attend will have plenty of children, but none of them will be ours.
A Reason to Rejoice
Many women are headed into Christmas with deep sorrow in their hearts. Some of us have arms that remain empty while others have arms less full than expected. As congregations sing “Joy to the world!” our worlds sometimes feel crushed. But the reality is, our weariness has been interrupted by a thrill of hope–a reason for rejoicing. There’s a birth of a child that brings more hope into our devastated world than we could ever find in the fruition of the babies we lost.
Here we stood, in our sin, shame, and sorrow, unable to rescue ourselves, when God sent his only Son to pay our ransom. (Ephesians 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:6). The humility of Jesus is seen throughout scripture but with such clarity in his birth. (Philippians 2:6-8). He created the heavens and earth. His hands fashioned our bodies and shaped our hearts. (Colossians 1:16-17). And in obedience to the Father and out of his deep love for us, he came.
Ponder this picture and let it saturate your heart this Christmas as it has mine–Jesus left glory and perfect comfort to take on flesh, be raised by sinful humans he created, and learn as a human learns. He, who has all knowledge, learned wisdom through seeking the Father. The Creator of life and Provider of all needs had to rely on sinful humans he created to provide for him, feed him, and care for him. Our refuge took refuge in a mother’s arms under the sovereign will of his Heavenly Father.
And friends, the truth that brings tears to my eyes even now, is that Jesus not only became a helpless infant, but the King of Kings submitted himself to a vulnerable womb. No one understands the unpredictability of a mother’s womb like a woman who has felt the life of her child fade from within. Ever since the fall in Eden, our bodies are broken—the safety of a womb, impaired. And yet, our Savior entrusted his well-being to God the Father as he was knitted together in Mary’s womb.
Jesus is the baby given to moms who have lost babies. He came to reverse the power of sin and death–the very cause of the grieving momma’s deepest sorrow. Friends, he is not a consolation prize. He is the greatest treasure to be held. And he was given to us.
Isaiah 9:6 ESV, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
When our arms ache to hold our babies, when our eyes meet the empty chair at the table, when our bodies remind us that death has touched our womb, when we feel all hope is gone, there is hope amidst the shadows. Because Jesus was born to set us free from the chains of sin and death, we can join the heavens in praising God for the gift of his Son, even with shattered hearts.
Death Has Died
There’s a song we often sing at church that will always make my heart wrestle this side of eternity. It sings, “Death has died; love has won. Hallelujah, Hallelujah. Jesus Christ has overcome. He is risen from the dead.”
Death has died. So, why do I still feel it gripping my womb? Why are babies born into heaven? Why does death breathe upon the back of our necks? Because we’re still here, waiting on Jesus’ return where he will crush the serpent once and for all (Revelation 20:10).
Jesus has overcome the grave and in doing so waged war on sin and death—a war that’s already won, yet not fully realized. The outcome is fixed; the enemy defeated. But we still live in the in between with eyes peeled for the long-awaited return of our Savior. He’s coming back for us and will raise us to new life. Soon and very soon, and he will wipe away every tear we’ve cried (Revelation 21:4).
God made low, to raise us up. This was always the plan, and in his perfect timing, he will crush every consequence of death, including death in the womb (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
A Safe Place for Hope
For most people, hope is elusive. It’s a wish sent into the sky with no promise of attainment. Hope for the Christian, though, is not fickle when settled in the right place. If our hope is in a baby we will be sorely disappointed. If it’s in a life of ease or our expectations being met, we will feel hopeless. We must daily place our hope in Jesus Christ—his death and resurrection. Only he is a safe place for hope.
Because of his humble, perfect life, death, and resurrection, we have a hope that can’t be stolen—a hope which anchors the soul, even as our hearts grapple with grief (Hebrews 6:19). Jesus is near and he’s coming back soon. On that day, all will be made right.
This hope, it is our reason for rejoicing. It’s what enables us to face the holiday season carrying sorrow in our hearts, yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10).
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:22 ESV)
Take heart, he is coming soon.