"For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, Oh, hear the angel voices."
For the past 4 years, my husband and I have said something to the effect of “This is probably our last Christmas with just the two of us” as we’ve put up and decorated the tree. I would often pause and think to myself where we’d place a gigantic swing or a pack-n-play in the coming year as we decorated the tree. Where would our baby sleep or watch as we decorated the tree with new ornaments that had their name inscribed on them? Which ornaments would we toss to make room for “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments? We said it again this year, “This could really be our last year to just be us and the dogs here as we decorate the tree.” Instead of “Baby’s First” ornaments, we have a couple ornaments that remind us of our sweet babies that rest in Heaven. Have you found yourself saying this around the holiday season? For some reason, Christmas brings a flood of hope mixed with a flood of wonder and oftentimes a dash of despair. I guess it’s because it’s the close to another year and it causes us to reflect.
For the Davis family, we can look back on 2016 and say, “Sheesh!” Twenty sixteen began with rejoicing over our second pregnancy and also the mourning of our second miscarriage. It also held the end to attempts at IVF. It held the end to our trying to grow our family biologically. This is something to be mourned and processed through. We fully believe that God, in all His power and wisdom, could still bring biological children into our lives, but according to doctors this isn’t something we should expect. He will do what He wills though.
Twenty sixteen also gave way to excitement as we felt God’s “thumbs up” to begin the adoption process. The desire to adopt had been birthed back in 2015, but we didn’t feel we had a green light on it yet. Once we felt God’s “YES” to begin the process, we were overjoyed. That began a rush of fundraising and paperwork. It brought new and cherished relationships with other hopeful adoptive mommies. It brought the burden of prayer for our future birthmother. I say burden because I can hardly think about this sweet, loving woman without crying. It’s a heavy and beautiful burden, not a burden of chains. As we entered this holiday season, we found ourselves fully funded and approved by our agency. We are posted on their website for all to see, so hence our, “This could REALLY be our last Christmas alone” (see me saying this with giant eyes).
BUT, friends, we could very well be saying that tired phrase again next year. I’m full of hope that we will not. Still, because I’m human, I also wonder, “But what if it’s not the last year?” I have to purpose in my heart to seek Him and believe that even if we decorate the tree again next year, and only our dogs are watching with full curiosity, then God will fill our hearts with peace. The waiting will not overwhelm us. The “hope deferred” will not crush us. The wonder at His plan will not confuse us. In fact, as we wait… we have a unique opportunity to press into the Christmas story.
For 400 years, God was silent before He came in the form of a baby to save the world.
Four.hundred.years. Four hundred years of waiting. Y’all… our 3 ½ years sounds puny compared to that. When I think of the frustration and angst in our 3 ½ years, I could nearly faint at the thought of four hundred. That simple page in our Bibles between Malachi and Matthew that reads “The New Testament” holds four hundred silent years of waiting for the promised Messiah. This Christmas, I hope you will press into your waiting instead of pushing it away. I think our waiting can give us a unique insight into just how magnificent His coming was 2000+ years ago. When you sing the words, “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel” this year… think of how Israel waited. The angst, the frustration, the hopelessness at times, the aching they must have felt to be rescued. A baby came to end this period of waiting. A baby. You, sweet friend, know what it feels like to wait for a baby. Can we not press in and REJOICE as we remember how God sent his son to end four hundred silent years of waiting this Christmas? And because of THAT baby, we can have Hope now as we wait. Without that long awaited baby 2000 years ago, we wouldn’t be able to wait with such expectant hope now. A baby has come for you - remember that. While you wait for your own child, remember that you have received salvation because God came in the form of a baby - FOR YOU.
And let’s talk about how this baby came and what surrounded His entry into this waiting world. The Israelites were expecting a man to come in and take control as an earthly king and put all of Rome to shame. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus did that - but not how they expected it. Let’s just go ahead and list out all the things that didn’t seem “right” or expected for Jesus’ first coming…
Mary could’ve been stoned for this. Joseph could’ve left her and she would’ve born shame for the rest of her life. I have wondered why God didn’t wait until Mary and Joseph were married… but then I remember how He used a virgin birth to display His power and glory. It would’ve been so much easier for Mary to have carried Jesus as a married woman - without the odd looks from others and whispers behind her back. BUT… no one would’ve believed that baby was sent from God had Mary and Joseph already been married. God brings perfection out of this confusion… glory to His name in the “backwards-ness” of this situation. He proves His word to be true in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Immanuel.” Can you see how what appears to be “backwards” about your current situation is not beyond being used for His glory?
You all know this. Jesus wasn’t welcomed into the world in the way anyone thought the Messiah would come. Late in Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph had to leave Nazareth to register in Bethlehem. Crazy timing. Who wants to travel via donkey late in pregnancy? Who wants to travel via donkey at all?! There was no room in Bethlehem, so Jesus was born and placed in a manger where animals fed. I can only imagine what Mary must’ve been thinking. Or maybe she wasn’t… but I would’ve been so confused and full of doubt knowing that I was carrying the Messiah and I had to give birth to Him in those conditions. It’s crazy and odd… and yet so specific. The angels told the shepherds, “And this shall be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” I wonder if the shepherds would’ve found Jesus in a traditional setting if they would’ve been so amazed. The fact that Jesus is so specifically and oddly placed in a manger serves as a sign… when they found Him there, it couldn’t be questioned. Can you see how what appears to be “backwards” about your current situation is actually God bringing glory to Himself?
Mary and Joseph On the Run
Herod, the “king of the Jews” at the time, heard that the Jews’ TRUE King was born, so he declared a manhunt for Jesus. Think… The 400 years of silence had ended, and immediately Satan rises up to try to kill this promised child. Mary and Joseph had already packed up and left Nazareth for Bethlehem. Now, they found themselves packing up and heading for Egypt... Egypt? Where the Israelites have previously spent hundreds of years in captivity? Yes, this is where Jesus and his parents found sanctuary. Is this not a picture of his redemptive love? Can you see how perhaps God’s path is for your good and for your redemption?
This truth is often overlooked in the Christmas story. Jesus’ birth is what drove Herod to kill all male children under the age of 2. What? Friends… this is at the top of the “that’s just backwards” list. Jesus’ entry into the world was a mix of rejoicing, redemption, praise and mourning, death, and loss. Can you identify? Christmas for you this year might be a mix of all of those feelings. There is such a mystery surrounding this season. The Christ Child comes on a razor’s edge, in the most vulnerable creature imaginable: a baby. But in this lowly state, God highly exalted Him. In His weakness, we would be made strong. Those who are far off will be brought near. The Upside-Down Kingdom of God at work in the most unlikely, wonderful ways.
Fellow waiting friend, can you see how we have a unique opportunity to experience the Christmas story?
You can have a glimpse of those 400 waiting years - and why there was rejoicing in Heaven on earth at His virgin birth! You understand what it feels like to be walking in what feels like a “backwards” way of starting a family. You understand how the story of Christ’s entry into the world is one of great rejoicing and also mixed with loss and mourning (Herod’s reaction). As I said in the beginning, Christmas brings a flood of hope mixed with a flood of wonder and often times a dash of despair. That is how the Christmas story began though! His birth was surrounded by abnormal situations, but that is the very way He came to save the world!
A baby has come for YOU.
Today on Christmas, let’s shift our focus from the baby who hasn’t come, to The One who came to save us all. The One that came to give us eternal hope. A baby born to set us free.
"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
Those of us at Waiting in Hope are praying your Christmas is filled with refreshing hope and redemption of your pain. We pray your season is filled with reminders that there was a baby born for you. Merry Christmas!
- Written by Hailee Davis, WiH National Leadership. Hailee and her husband Joel have a heart for others on infertility journeys from their years of "all the things." In 2017, we rejoiced as they brought home their "awaited child" through adoption.