The Birth of a Son

by Jenn Coughlin

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

A single red bulb hung from a branch on the tree, reflecting the dimmed lights of the room, while the snack for Santa was carefully laid on the table. This Christmas Eve, more than any other, had to be perfect, for it was unlike any other Christmas Eve. This Christmas Eve, we were holding our two-day old baby Patrick, thanking God for this precious star child and pleading with Him to show us how to care for this helpless baby.

Immanuel, God with us. God reveals himself to people in many ways. A kind word from a stranger. A song lyric on the radio. A perfect sunset on a drive home. An opportunity to serve someone. As Jesus, a baby born to Mary and Joseph. At times, He reveals Himself in grand and obvious ways. On December 23, 2013, He revealed Himself to us in the birth of our first son. How grateful we are that He is always with us, revealing Himself in new ways every day.

Why would God choose to reveal Himself in human form, as a tiny baby on that first Christmas? The God who taught us how to love others. The God who calls us to show grace and act in grace. The God who will forgive any sin. The God who knows and loves us more than we can ever imagine. A tiny, helpless, precious baby, Immanuel.

So, in the dimmed lights of the hospital room, under the miniature plastic tree with a single red bulb, we set out apple juice and crackers in preparation of Santa’s arrival. Just like we had put out milk and cookies in our separate homes growing up, and like we would for years to come with our own children. But with a hunger and understanding of Immanuel like we’d never before experienced, we prepared our hearts for the coming of Christ, who was born to new parents as a tiny, helpless, precious baby. Just like the tiny, helpless, precious baby we now held in our arms.

O come, O Come, Immanuel.

Heavenly Father, reveal yourself to us in new and magnificent ways. We open our hearts to the coming of your Son. O come, O Come, Immanuel. Amen.

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