Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthing Sweet: There Was No Epidural in Bethlehem (Part Two)

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Be sure to read Part One of this post HERE.

What was it really like in that stable on that Holy Night? Well, if Mary's first birth experience was anything typical (and I can't help but think it was), it was a night of pain...and it was a night of purpose.
It was a night of tears...and it was a night of laughter.
It was a night of fear...and it was a night of courage.
It was a night of utter helplessness...and it was a night of great strength. When you pause to think of that Holy Night this week, remember the reality of Mary's pain and be reminded of God's overriding plan for our best and His Glory.

God planned for pain. God never intended for childbirth to be easy. After Adam and Eve sinned, they received their punishment. God told Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing” (Gen. 3:16a). If God increased it, that implies that pain was involved all along. God always planned for pain to be a part of new life.

Pain has a purpose. Labor is a beautiful picture of a merciful God. The searing pain is not constant. There are intervals of rest. While the process is intense, it is necessary. Each contraction brings the laboring mother closer to the birth of her child. Each pain is one step nearer to holding her baby in her arms. The laboring process is as much a gift to us as the miracle of new life. It invites us to reach out to God and find His strength sufficient for our weakness.

Pain is the Christmas connection to the Cross. The foundation of motherhood lies in the surrender of self and the submission to servanthood. This was the attitude of Christ. In the lowly surroundings of a stable, Mary previewed the transforming power of the Cross and the ultimate miracle of Resurrection. It is our birthright as women. A woman experiences the death of a pregnancy in exchange for the birth of her child’s independent physical functioning.

As Christians, we also must endure suffering of some form or fashion in order for the life of Christ to be fully birthed within us. Our labor is not in vain! Ask Mary. She'll tell you: Pain is what makes the birthing sweet.

Wishing you a Christmas profound in peace, power, and the precious presence of Christ,
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