When I was pregnant with my son, the hospital gave my husband and me a large packet: a Birth Plan. It was a series of questions about what I would like my “birthing experience” to be. Did I want soft lighting or a certain kind of music? Did I want the nurses to provide words of encouragement or just give me the facts? For a control-fiend, this whole “Birth Plan” was perfect! It all sounded lovely. I could “create” whatever experience I chose.
Every plan I made went right out the window. After all sorts of unexpected challenges, I ended up in a surgical room with fluorescent lighting, beeping monitors, and a no-nonsense nurse who checked my vitals every couple of hours, whether I liked it or not.
Ever since, I can’t help hearing Mary and Joseph’s pre-birth ordeal in Luke 2 in a whole new way. The expectant parents were never offered a Birth Plan. They didn’t have the option of soft lighting or soothing music. Mary and Joseph had no idea when the baby would be born, where they would be, who would be there, or how they would care for their newborn (undoubtedly they were without birthing classes…how did they do it?!). They only thing they knew was that they were in God’s hands. That’s it. That’s all.
And that was everything.
Depending upon your life circumstances, Christmas is a beautiful, lonely, grief-riddled, painful, joyous, anxiety-producing event. You can’t control what Christmas will be. But we may say for certain one glorious, out-of-our-control thing: We – you and I – are in God’s hands. The Christ child comes with God’s ultimate Birth Plan, to love and bless the world.
Thanks be to God, we can’t control a thing about it!