What’s your first Christmas like, God?

I wonder what it feels like to be in your shoes on that first Christmas. Sure the heavens were rejoicing when Jesus was born. The angels were probably in awe at the sight of their God in human form. For the longest time, they were blinded by the brightness and grandeur of Jesus that they can’t even look at Him. Then all of a sudden they witnessed His transformation—He became flesh and blood, conceived in a woman’s womb, born naked and helpless—just like any human being. It must be astounding and even incomprehensible to see the Majestic One become an ordinary man.

How about You, God? How did You feel? Now that I’m a mom, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to be separated from Your Son for the first time. Did You experience separation anxiety? You probably had a bittersweet Christmas. I guess that’s it. Bittersweet. You had to sacrifice being separated from Your Son in order to achieve something greater. You sent Him for one reason as it says in Your Word—to save His people from their sins. You know, I even checked different Bible versions of Matthew 1: 21 to see if that’s really the only translation for the meaning of the name Jesus. This is actually the first time that the translations I read said exactly the same thing: “She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Jesus could’ve come to restore justice on earth, to promote peace, to show people how to love, or even to teach Your good and perfect commands. But those things pale in comparison to the gravity and urgency of dealing with our sin—the very thing that destroys us and pulls us away from You. It is for this reason that the first Christmas had to happen. It is for this reason that Your first bittersweet Christmas had to happen. I can only imagine how much You wanted to cradle baby Jesus in Your arms to keep Him warm; how You wanted to pacify Him when He was crying; how You wanted to make things easier for Him—but then again, You exercised divine restraint and allowed things to unfold in accordance to Your appointed will and time.

That’s unfathomable love, God! I can’t wrap my mind around it! It must’ve killed you inside to see one door shut after another when Joseph and Mary were looking for a place to stay for the night. You could’ve easily created a palace or a five-star hotel in the middle of Bethlehem and show everyone how a King is supposed to be treated. But You didn’t. You restrained yourself so that people can see that their Savior was born in a lowly place and that their Savior knows what it feels like to have nothing. He can empathize.

You thought of us when we weren’t even thinking of You. You loved us unconditionally and You wanted us to be reconciled to You. But You had to get rid of that sin barrier that separated us from You. You bridged that gap through the birth, death, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. He was Your precious One. You sacrificed all the comfort and protection that Your Son could’ve had while he was here on earth. All because He had to fulfil His purpose “to save his people from their sins”.

You didn’t want to be Jesus’ Father alone, You wanted to be our Father as well. With Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, You opened the door for us to be Your children. All we need to do is believe that what He did is the only payment for our sins and that He is the only way for us to be reconciled to You. With that faith comes the assurance that we’ll be in heaven someday and that You will be there to receive us not because we were good enough but because Someone loved us enough to sacrifice His life for us. We will stand before You stripped of any merit but only with the merits of Jesus Christ. We can’t boast about anything because we didn’t do anything. Your Son did everything.

On that first Christmas, You set the greatest example of giving the BEST GIFT for mankind—the life of Your Son. You celebrated that Christmas with a sacrifice. You celebrated it with so much love for us that the mere thought that we’ll be reconciled to You marked Christmas as the new beginning for mankind. It must be really tough, God. I can never thank You enough for making that exchange gift for us—Jesus’ birth and death for our eternal life. Thank You that the significance of Christmas is far beyond the gifts, food, and merrymaking. Christmas is rooted in Your heart where all love and acceptance abound. It is found in the life You gave and the life we gained.

Thank You, God that Christmas is here because of You. Thank You for putting CHRIST in the center of the celebration. Merry Christmas, Jesus. I can never love You the way You love me. Nonetheless, I want to let You know that I love You more than anything else in this world. You are the ONLY REASON for the season. 🙂

An Open Letter to Our Firstborn

Dear Timmy,

Exactly 365 days ago, I was waiting to hear your first cry while lying half-awake in the operating room. When I finally heard it I understood what a miracle is. You beat the odds, dear one. You wailed so loud as if to show off your strong lungs. You may not be a full-term baby but you sure sounded like one. 🙂 Then something magical happened, the nurse brought you close to me and I kissed your cheeks ever so gently. I kissed an angel and touched a living miracle—at 29 weeks and merely 1.2 kilos, you showed everyone that God was holding you in the palm of His hands.

Where did time go? I feel like I just turned a page and the next chapter is about you turning a year old! Happy 1st birthday, sweetheart! Just greeting you brings tears to my eyes. You are one brave soul, son. You’ve been through a lot with your month-long stay at the Neonatal ICU, Neonatal Lupus diagnosis, Hernia operation when you were two months old, and recent Asthma diagnosis. Despite all these, your daddy and I wake up every day blessed to see a beaming smile in your face as if you’re telling us that those things were no biggie. You are full of life, Timmy! You bring so much joy to our family and to the people around you. 🙂

We’ve seen you reach one milestone after another. You learned how to turn, crawl, sit, and stand. Before we know it you’re walking already and we’re running after you. 🙂 You’re eating solids now and you even got your three front teeth for Christmas! God has been so good to you, Timmy. His loving hand has always been upon you, taking care of you every single day. It is our prayer that as you grow up you will discover how great and amazing our God is.

In case you’re curious about what you were like when you were still a baby, I have one word to describe you—ACTIVE. 🙂 You have seemingly unlimited energy, Timmy! You scream in delight, you play tirelessly, you laugh so loud, you grab things in sight, you talk spontaneously, and you climb instinctively. You’re also very focused, sweetheart. 🙂 When you watch videos or commercials, all your attention is there with eyebrows knitted. You are also seriously funny, darling. 🙂 You make different sounds ranging from cat-like to accurately piggy. Aside from that, you love bath time, too!

We are humbled and blessed that God gave you to us. I didn’t realize that you were really the miracle I was waiting for until last month. Let me tell you a quick story. When I was still single, I used to write letters to my future husband. I gave them all to your dad when we got married. 🙂 When your dad was reading one of my letters, he discovered something I wrote that gave me goose bumps. Apparently, I told your dad (whom I hadn’t met at that time) that I saw a cute little boy in church and perhaps it was God’s way of telling us that our miracle baby would be a BOY. And here you are, Timmy—miracle personified. 🙂

You see, I thought I’d never have a baby because I have Lupus. So when I found out I was pregnant, your dad and I rejoiced! God answered our prayer in the most unexpected way. You’re a honeymoon baby, Timmy! We’ll explain what that means when you’re a bit older. 🙂 From the moment you were conceived, we knew that God had big plans for you. He wants to show in your life that He is real and He is good. Yes, you may have inherited your Neonatal Lupus and Asthma from me but that happened under God’s sovereign hands. So far, you haven’t exhibited any symptoms of Lupus and we’re praying that it really is transient. I hope that you will grow up without having to live with that sickness. You only had one major Asthma attack thus far and we’re hoping that it will be the last.

The way God sustains you every single day, the way He heals you when you’re sick, the way He makes your body develop continuously, the way He makes you happy and bubbly—all these things prove that He is at work in your life. 🙂 Every day we thank God for you, Timmy. We praise Him for what He has done and what He will still do in your life. He loves you more than we do. We pray that you will know God in a personal way and experience His goodness all the days of your life. May you follow His ways for He knows what’s best for you.

We love you so much, sweetheart. Happy 1st birthday! We look forward to celebrating more birthdays with you! May God bless you beyond what you can ever ask or imagine. Please don’t grow up too fast, Timmy. Right now I’m enjoying your super mommy-attachment stage. 🙂 Next time I’ll be seeing you go through that hero-worship phase with your dad. Each season will come ever so quickly. So enjoy every stage of your life, little one. We’ll be here to guide you, encourage you, and cheer you on every step of the way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love you forever, my true miracle. 🙂

Much love,

Mommy 🙂