Written by Jodi Weaver in loving memory of Isaac & Jacob Weaver

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave
birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him
in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7

As Christmas approaches, I know from experience that this is a holiday that is hard to take for those who are fresh in their grief. It is especially difficult if you have lost a baby. It seems that the whole holiday is focused around babies and children. You have all the nativity scenes and stories about the birth of Baby Jesus. Then you have the other side of the holiday with Santa and all the children. One thing that I learned a long time ago was to focus on the fact that the baby was not just any baby. It was my Lord and Savior. I learned to be like a microscope if you will and zone in on this one aspect of Christmas and to try to blur out the rest of the images. In saying this I wanted to share something with you that I felt was important. I teach a 2nd grade Sunday school class at church and as usual this last Sunday I learned as much as my students did. As I was teaching them about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I actually thought of some things that I had never thought of before.

All of our Nativity Scenes depict a beautiful, clean setting when in actuality the stable was a very dirty, smelly place. The stable is believed to have been a dirt cave carved out of the side of a hill. The “manger” would have been a shelf dug out of one of the walls not a wooded box. And as for the hay in the manger, have you ever seen a horse or cow eat? The hay would have been covered in slobber from the animals having eaten there. The floor of the stable would have been covered in waste products and hay. I am sure there were all kinds of insects and “critters” around. As I said, “It was a very dirty, smelly place.” As I shared this with my students, I started thinking about how Mary must have felt when she entered that place.

She saw and smelled everything, yet there was no where else to go. They had already tried everywhere they could think of and it was too late to try anything else. She didn’t have a choice. She must have been scared. Here she was ready to have the baby that the Angel had told her she would have and it was not going anything like she had thought it would go. She had just traveled miles away from all of her family and friends and now she was all alone with no one but Joseph to help her. But she also had God with her and she knew that God would not let anything happen to His Son.

After we discussed how Mary must have felt, we talked about what the world expected. They expected a great and mighty king in a castle and instead it got a tiny helpless baby in a smelly stable. Not exactly the way they had pictured the birth of the Messiah. They had waited hundreds of years for this day and now that it was here, no one believed it was true except the lowly shepherds that were told by the angels about the birth. Pretty much the same as so many people of today don’t believe that Jesus was the Savior.

The most important thing that we discussed was the fact that JESUS WAS BORN TO DIE!!! Christmas is a very important holiday for those of us that are Christians. We celebrate it with tears in our eyes and joy in our hearts, but what we need to remember most of all is that Jesus wasn’t just born. Without Easter, Christmas means nothing. Without Easter, this birth would be no different from the millions of births since creation. Without Easter, there would be no reason to celebrate Christmas at all. But we do have Easter. Jesus was born at Christmas so that He could die and be raised again, thirty-three years later, on Easter Morning. God had a plan, just as He has a plan for us through the lives of our babies. So as you enter this holiday season, don’t concentrate on the fact that everywhere you look there are babies and children. Instead concentrate on the fact that our Lord and Savior was born on this special day so that He could give us an Easter to celebrate later, that would enable able us to have Eternal Life in heaven. After all, that is the only way we will be able to see our precious babies again.