Redemption Eve (part 2)

Santa visited Clara in the hospital on Christmasd Eve

Our story of Clara’s first Christmas Eve left off with Clara wrapped up and swaddled in hospital blankets. She was lying in a red wagon. Oddly, she was somehow reminiscent of baby Jesus…wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. I pondered these things in my heart as I pulled the little red wagon back up to the KISU.

I held Clara as she started to drift off to sleep. I turned the TV on to watch ”Mystery Diagnosis”. I like that show because in one short hour the medical team solves the problem and saves the patient. Our medical team had been at it for 6 months and had still not diagnosed or saved my daughter. Plus, the tv drowned out the sounds of the monitors and alarms. Alarms went off all the time, each with a different panic inducing tone.

My Christmas Eve was most certainly not a silent night. Nothing was calm or bright. Clearly the writer of that song had never spent Christmas Eve in a hospital…or a stable for that matter. Had he ever heard a woman giving birth? Mary did not have a silent, calm, or bright night either.

Around the time Mystery Diagnosis revealed that the patient was sick because he had swallowed a battery, I noticed that Clara was asleep. I put her in her crib and I laid on the floor below her. Oddly, it had become my favorite place to rest. It was cold and hard. It reminded me of the season I was in. Cold. Hard. Isolated. The floor was the lowest point in the room. I was at my lowest point metaphorically. I thought it would be fitting to be on the lowest point. The floor wouldn’t judge me. It was used to being low. I was just keeping it company.

But more than that, the floor represented something solid. It didn’t give. There was so much uncertainty that Christmas Eve that I think I needed something certain. I was certain that the solid floor would hold me up and it would not give way. So I clung to the one thing that was still holding me up when my world was crumbling in uncertainty around me.

From the floor I called out from the deepening caverns of my soul… “God! Where are you? I thought you made beauty from ashes! No parent should have to kiss their children goodbye on Christmas! Being apart from my other children tonight is just too much. And you wouldn’t let Clara die tonight, would you? That is cruel! If you must abandon me to the hospital floor, just heal my daughter first. I will take the ashes if I must, but don’t make Clara suffer. I’m so scared for her. She has so many tubes and leads and lines hanging off of her tiny body. Don’t you care? IT’S CHRISTMAS, for Christ’s sake! Of all the days!”

And from the space next to me on the cold, hard floor He answered me. It’s as if He had been sitting there listening all along and had just suddenly decided to speak up. His words were simple and His tone compassionate. He dropped a reminder in to my heart and just sat there with me until it registered.

“I know what it’s like to worry about your child on Christmas Eve. I know the pain of separation from your children and the fear that they will suffer.”

And just like that He was silent. Is it just me or does God seem to have a flair for the dramatic? Normally I would like a good dramatic effect, but not on a floor-dwelling-seperate-from-your-family-on-Christmas-and-worried-about-your-baby kind of night. I wish He would have just told me that everything was going to be okay.

And then it sank in…

God spent the first Christmas Eve without His son. That is why Christmas exists in the first place. Jesus was in a foreign place and away from His Fathers care. God entrusted Jesus to Mary and Joseph (and a few shephards and sheep) just as I have entrusted Clara to her doctors. The hospital is most certainly a foreign land. It was profound. He really did actually understand. Woah.

I sat on the hospital floor and let it all sink in. I closed my eyes and pictured God and Jesus separated for the first time. I believe God was laying on the floor like me that first Christmas Eve. The lowest point in heaven would have been the closest point to earth, the foreign land that was now trusted to care for His absent son.

Not silent. Not calm. Not bright. But perhaps holy.

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