Rising early, as I do nowadays almost every morning, I sat in a corner chair by the fireplace and strolled down memory lane. As I sipped on strong black coffee I remembered a Christmas 26 years ago.
It was just after Christmas and we were in Memphis Tenessee. Our only son had just had surgery that morning and my wife and I were supposed to take turns being with our son in intensive care. He was recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from behind his heart and lungs. They had cut him open from the center of his back all the way to the center of his his chest. Our son had literally been cut in half.
Marilyn took the first watch while I fitfully tried to rest on a vinyl covered couch down th hallway of the hospital. after several hours she came back in the missle of the night and informed me it was my time to stand watch over our son. I don't remember if this was something we were told to do by the hospital, or just something we had to do as parents. I trudged down the hallway to sit near our 18 month old son. He was hooked to tubes and wires. There were bandages around his body. He shifted uncomfortably in the tiny bed as the drug induced sleep kept he horrible pain at bay.
I could only take it for a few minutes. I struggled to breath as I watched our little angel gasp deeply for each breath. I winced as I saw each breath bring his little body pain even though the nerves were dulled, but not elimintaed, through the medicine. I left the room and begged for my wife's forgiveness. I just couldn't stand to watch my little boy suffer like that.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem it must have been hard for heaven to let Him go. God knew that the silence of the shephers fields would give way to a mocking and blood-thirsty crowd. This litle child would hang on the cross. His body racked with pain. Each breath a struggle. How hard it must have been for the Father to watch each painful breath. Even Christ's Heavenly Father could only watch His Son suffer for so long. The world turned dark at midday as the Father had to turn His face away. He could endure the suffering of His innocet Child no more.
Christmas is so much more that we ever dare to contemplate. It is a gift of unfathomable riches. It is a gift so precious because it cost so much. Thank God today that He loved us so much that He gave us His Son. Merry Christmas.