CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ~ CHRISTMAS WITHIN

Photo by Evi Krahn, 2007

Preparing for future teaching ministry led hubby to study in Hartford, Connecticut with a start date of September 1st 1968. Peter and I had been married for more than two years and were thrilled to be expecting our first child, due that November. We knew it would be financially impossible to have our baby in the States so we made a practical decision; I would stay with my parents in Winnipeg until the birth and then join Peter. You do what has to be done. The goodbyes were hard.

I continued to work as a Pathology Secretary at the Children's Hospital for as long as possible. On the day I was to be induced, my dear brother had driven me to the hospital, and I was settled into the Labor Room. The Grey Cup was on as I went into labour. The nurses were glued to the game and loudly cheering away when our first child insisted on making her appearance. I’m sure I worked harder than any player on those football teams! Suddenly the case room became a flurry of activity. After the delivery I had complications and had to remain in the hospital 10 days instead of the usual 5 in those years. The two of us, mother and child, had to stay three more weeks with my parents before we were allowed to travel. Doctor’s, as well as Oma’s, orders! My baby and I were ready to fly to Hartford to join the anxiously waiting daddy just in time for Christmas.

My fear of flying the first time in no way bothered the little one. She slept the whole trip and wouldn’t even nurse! It was a very tiring, challenging, long journey with two stopovers and plane changes. I felt so weak and alone, my first flight, my first baby, yet I was strangely filled with love, contentment, and a peace in my heart that I could not describe.

Nothing prepared me for the joy I felt when the two of us were finally safe in Peter’s arms! The Lord had, as always, proved himself to be faithful to his own. Christmas was coming and nothing else mattered. We had no crib for the baby. We pulled out one of the dresser drawers and made a nice soft place for her to sleep, right beside the bed so I could reach her. We had no tree to decorate. Some say it is not Christmas without a tree. No candles cast a soft glow to enhance the season. Turkey dinner was out of the question. What would the three of us do with a whole turkey and trimmings? Peter had to minister at the church during the services. I couldn’t go because I still required bed-rest. Our apartment showed no outward evidence of Christmas decorations, no homemade Stollen, no Christmas cards, no presents, delicious nuts or chocolates, not even the sweet aroma of cookies baking. And yet it was Christmas! Christmas without the trappings but Christmas within our hearts! We had Christ; we had each other and our beautiful, brand-new daughter. We were so blessed. What more could we ask!

Every Christmas since then has been unique: some sad, some stressful, some poignant, some full of joyous, noisy celebration and some quiet and reflective. Each one was God-appointed and designed to achieve His purpose. It is not outward circumstances and trimmings that make Christmas. Our Christmas celebrations are to remind us that Almighty God decided to come down to earth. He sent Jesus, His only Son, who came willingly! His purpose for living among us was to buy us back because we are all lost in sin. Let’s thank God that Jesus would have been born had we been the only one who needed to be redeemed. Such divine love is far too great and deep to comprehend! Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for Christmas within our hearts, God’s greatest gift, Jesus!

Merry Christmas everyone
and many new adventures with the Lord
in a Happy New Year!

6 comments:

Capt Tom Bunn LCSW said...

Fear of flying often becomes a problem when becoming a parent because, as delivery approaches, hormones are released into the brain causing the parents - both the mother and the father - to become obsessed wit safety. Flying, though, is safer than driving, so in this case the obsession leads toward more, not less, risk. Then, the patterns that are set up to avoid (or fear) flying easily remain after the hormones go away. If you want some info on how to deal with flying, please see the video at http://www.fearofflying.com/video_hs.shtml

karin said...

Thank you for coming by and commenting Tom! After Christmas I'll check out your blog again and follow up on viewing the videos.

40 years ago that was my first ever flight with our brand new baby! I had a fantastic flight that time - just long and arduous because of all I had endured the weeks prior to the flight.

As I analyzed my feelings in subsequent flights, I realized that I had more a fear of dying than of flying! Once I confessed my spiritual lack of trusting God to take care of me in all life's circumstances, He forgave me and gave me an awesome peace! I had no more incidents of fear when flying all these many years. God is good!

Blessings to you!

Karabeth said...

I've never flown with a newborn. You are one fantastic gal to do it! I've come across young military wives on my trips to visit Lou and try to help them if I can. My heart is always touched by their stories of taking the infant to visit daddy.

A few years ago our Lou and Sgt. Dan were stationed across the country and the whole family went to visit them. We were flying Southwest Airlines which doesn't have assigned seats. Karen had only 2 girls then. The Bear (age 9) and I were able to sit together and I had a stranger on my other side. Right behind us were Karen, her hubby, and the two little ones aged 5 months and three years.

Midway through the flight Karen got frustrated with young Polly and placed her over the back of the seat onto my lap. You should've seen the look on the face of the stranger! He had no clue that the bored toddler was my grandchild and the exasperated mother was my daughter. I enlightened him because he had quickly looked back to make sure the infant wasn't coming his direction!

Meanwhile, my dad was helping some poor mother comfort infant twin boys whose ears hurt from the difference in air pressure.

We've had many laughs about that trip!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family! I am so thankful for the blessing of the Christ Child, God's personal gift to me! I trusted the Savior at Christmas when I was 14 years old. That makes the season doubly-special, I think.

freetolive said...

Merry Christmas Karin!

BPOTW said...

I think it's the "small" times like these when we feel closest to God and understand the most what the meaning of His love is. What a beautiful story, thanks for sharing it with Best Posts of the Year!

Betsy Adams said...

Karin, Your story is fantastic... This is a story of what the true meaning of Christmas is ALL about... When we have Christ, each other and our love---what else is needed? God Bless and thanks for sharing your story.

Hugs,
Betsy