I sat in the football stands alone. Watching my kid cheer on the field. My middle son came up at one point and talked to me. We laughed and had fun. Then he headed back to sit with his dad and stepmom. The woman next to me said, “Joint custody?” She had the same thing. She shared kids at all the events. Another Cheer mom was single, too. And she sat in the row behind us. Not really sure what their names were. We didn’t need to know that. We understood each other and we laughed throughout the game. Had a little chit chat. We each came alone, but we weren’t alone in those stands.
Walking through Walmart and I see a mom trying to juggle two toddlers while grocery shopping for the week. I walk up, say hi to the kiddos. Look at mom and tell her I’ve done that before and she’s doing great. She wasn’t alone.
A friend’s child is graduating high school this year. Her one and only. She struggles with it. I’ve done this twice. I’ve watched two boys walk across that stage. And next year, my baby will walk it. She’ll send me texts. The fun times. The fight for more time. The costs. And I get it! I’ve been there. I’m not sure what to say, because each of us deal differently. But, she’s not alone.
Two thousand years ago, a mother is in labor. She carried the Son of God. Her husband, who isn’t the father, stands beside his wife, helping as he can. And all he could find was a stable, filled with animals and hay.
A final push, and a baby’s cry fills the air. But not just any child. This child left His Heavenly, comfortable home. And He didn’t just float down from the clouds and demand followers. This Son started His life as a baby. He gave up divinity to become human. To walk through this world. At some point in his life, He lost his earthly father; the man who agreed to raise not only a child not his own, but God’s own Son. He understood what it is to lose someone you love.
This child and His parents had to run for their lives and live in a strange country for many years. This Son grew up as a boy, became a teenager, and became a carpenter.
He dedicated His life to serve His Father. He loved others. And He was tempted. Wealth. Fame. Lands. Kingdoms. If He would just walk away from heaven, He could have everything on earth. But, Jesus chose to believe the Word of God. After all, He was the Word made flesh.
He chose to be here.
To share in our hurts.
He did it without committing one sin, yet cruel judgment never came from Him. He spoke the Truth in Love. “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”
And then, this child in a manger, made the ultimate sacrifice.
As humanity began, without sin, in a garden, another human, without sin, prayed in a garden. Death faced him. A serpent whispered in his ear. The battle began. “Not my will, Father, but yours be done!”
Betrayal from a friend.
A fake trial.
No one to stand with Him.
A crown of thorns.
Sin and sickness thrust upon this man, who didn’t deserve it.
His eyes opened.
Joy filled him.
He looked across time.
And He saw you.
Although He could’ve stepped off that cross at any time, He chose not to.
He saw a soldier crying for him in a war-torn field.
He saw a single mom, struggling to make ends meet.
He saw a teenager giving up on life.
He saw a meth addict, looking in the mirror and wondering who she was.
He saw slaves who needed freedom.
Hopelessness that needed revival.
Dry lands that needed rain.
And He allowed death to take Him.
The Son of Man. The Son of God. Dead.
But, the same Spirit that hovered over the waters on a lifeless planet, the same Spirit who gave strength to a boy with five stones, the same Spirit that inspired a queen to save her nation, the same Spirit that impregnated a virgin, was still at work in a grave.
And death couldn’t win.
A stone rolled away.
The serpent lost.
Salvation was alive.
Humanity wasn’t alone in their filth.
The Son willingly left heaven and walked among us.
He knows. He understands. And He intercedes for us.
We are not alone.
And it began with a baby’s cry. A cry that started before the foundation of the world. A cry that caused the angels to sing and shepherds to leave their flocks. It caused Kings to travel far, following a Star. In faith.
A baby’s cry that says you aren’t alone.
A cry that came to bring us life.
A cry filled with hope. With love.
We can do this. Because He came.
Emmanuel. God with us.