God Is With Us

The room was dimly lit and filled with a warm glow. I peeked my head into the New York City hospital room to find a mother who just gave birth. I paused for a moment as I took in the sight: Regina was resting quietly in her bed after a long labor and delivery of her son. She was absolutely radiant. I knocked gently then walked in to the surprise of Regina, one of our heroic moms who chose life in the midst of a tremendous trial.  A broad smile spread across her face as she looked up from her hospital bed and announced, “he is here, he is finally here!” She was overflowing with joy and shared his name, “His name is Emmanuel, God is with us!”

As we sat together, I marveled at how transformed Regina was from the first time I met her months earlier when she was filled with fear.  Yet, throughout her pregnancy she held on to hope and had a determined faith that God was with her even when she did not sense His presence. When little Emmanuel finally stirred from his sleep, he looked up to his mother.  I was in awe as I looked at his newborn face. Regina offered him to me to hold. I gazed at this perfect little baby boy just hours old, thanked God for his life and thought, “God is indeed with us.” Realizing he was hungry, Regina held him close to her chest and began to nurse him for the first time. His tiny lips reached up to her nourishment. It was a moment filled with eternity.

As I walked home from the hospital that night through the crowded, noisy streets of the city, my heart cried out, “My God, Jesus, You came to us just like that. You chose this for Yourself, You became so little, so needy, a helpless baby in Your mother’s arms.” It became all the more real to me that we have a God who is with us, who is like us in all things but sin. What an astonishing thought, our God has a face and a name.

As we approach Christmas, may we stand in awe at the wonder of the Incarnation.  How small and gentle was His coming, He still comes to us in this way. Caryll Houselander writes, “God approaches us gently often secretly, always in love. He comes to us in those whom we know in our lives.” He comes in the very ordinary moments of our lives, and the light of the Incarnation bursts through, however gently and fills everything with meaning.  As Sisters of Life, we wear a medal with a line from a poem capturing the day after the Annunciation, “and nothing would again be casual or small.” The poem continues, “but everything over-spilled with terror and divinity.” The Incarnation fills everything with new and deeper meaning. God has come. God is with us.  It is cause for great wonder- this Baby has changed the world.

This year, Emmanuel will star as the Baby Jesus in a live Nativity a few days before Christmas. So little and so small, he is already imitating Christ. May we follow his example and imitate the humility, love, and purity of our Newborn King. Let us cleanse our hearts in the sacrament of Confession, so He will receive a warm welcome and be born anew in our souls.

May your hearts overflow with love and joy at Christmas.