“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger” (Luke 2:9-17).
I remember Christmas 2003 like it was yesterday. My youngest son was six months old and as I sat in church he slept snuggly in my arms. My husband and daughter were home sick. My older son, eight, was with me.
The church was adorned with the flowers, trees, and lights to celebrate our Savior’s birth.
I marveled at the miracle of Christmas day. But besides that I was joy-filled by our own situation and thankful for God’s support.
Our baby had undergone stomach surgery just 13 days earlier and besides a scar and a slight weight loss, there were no visible signs of his problems. My husband and I both knew that we were fortunate, for we discovered by accident that our baby had a congenital defect in his intestines.
Without surgery he would likely have had a bowel obstruction which would be life threatening
As I sat and that church and listened to the beautiful message of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve, I remember thanking God for what had provided. We were filled with hope, after experiencing the most frightening moments of our marriage.
I wonder if Mary and Joseph were fearful that night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. They were young with no place to stay; having to give birth in a stable. I believe Mary held Jesus the way I held my son that Christmas–with all the love she could feel for another person.
Today our son is a healthy 12-year-old whose only notion of his early life is a two-inch scar and the stories he has heard from us.
Each Christmas, if I am well enough to attend services, I thank God for many things. On the top of that list is our life and family. We would not be successful on this life journey without our Savior; and at Christmas we are again reminded of this in the most joyful of ways.
Prayer: Dear Lord: God bless us all this Christmas season. Help us to focus on the miracle of Jesus’ birth and His promise of everlasting life in Heaven. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She retired from her job as an elementary school counselor in 2012. She is finishing writing a book about her journey with dysautonomia, the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system.
What memories do you have of Christmas?
In this song, “I Celebrate the Day” Reliant K sings about how Christmas can make such a difference. God forever changed our relationship with Him–He gave us grace. He gave His only son so that we could make a choice that would never separate us from Him again. Hoping it blesses you as it does me. -Lisa