Sounds more like a Christmas post…and maybe it will be- but it’s been on my mind. The feeling from holding him.
One of the guys from our ministry team is making Christmas ornaments to sell as a way to raise funds for upcoming projects and when I saw the ornaments, one ornament, emblazoned with His name, reminded me of the baby in Bolivia. And the Baby in Bethlehem.
Every single one of us is drawn to the babies, and this was my one chance to hold him without one of the others trying to get at him. I held my hands out, he leaned in and I took him. Soft baby. Freshly washed baby fragrance, I inhaled deep. Remembering my own babies. And their babies. I asked his name. “Emmanuel”, she said. No translation needed. I felt my heart speed up with my writer’s mind whirling–I was “holding Emmanuel”. The other team members had oooed and aahhed over him, a few had held him–without knowing his name. But I asked–because names are important to me–I like to connect somehow with those that I talk with–even when through a translator.
He leaned his little head on my shoulder and I began to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for him, a prayer of protection, and for God to create in him a strong desire to serve and follow Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus Christ. Son of God. Tears (which seemed to come often this trip) burned, mixed with the dust that was flying that morning, I was so –so- so grateful to God for this moment. For me to recognize a “God moment”.
To hold Emmanuel–we must recognize our need for Him. Holding Emmanuel is a privilege. We must seek Him. Just as the wise men and shepherds, we will find Him when we do.
And, when we hold Him, it will change us.
The holding. It’s a purposeful act–a deliberate decision to wrap our arms, minds and heart around Him. Measure the feeling when you hold a baby. Is it possible? I don’t think it’s quite measurable. The feeling itself encapsulates our being. We are privileged to have experienced that opportunity. But–God didn’t decide to come to earth as a baby –just for us…..He came for the world. (John 3:16)
So that we all might have the opportunity…and there are millions who don’t know. Millions who have never been afforded the chance to hold Emmanuel. Never had an introduction. What are we doing about them?
Dare we look in their eyes and say, “I’m sorry…. we cannot give you the chance to know Jesus…you live too far away”….
“Your life is too different than mine”.
Those words won’t hold up in court. The Court. We will all stand for our own selves. And what we did when we were given the opportunity to hold Emmanuel–will come to light. Did we hold Him? Did we share Him? Give– so that others might know Him? Go so that others might See Him? Live? –so that others might want Him? Do we pray so that they might find Him?
Holding Emmanuel changed me. I wanted to stay there–and help his mother. I wanted to be her friend.
But I knew –for now, I couldn’t stay. I handed him back with a prayer and a promise that I would indeed do my part to see that others like him, and his mother–and those other little ones running around playing would have the opportunity to hold Emmanuel. And know Him. And serve Him.
Father, I thank You for that trip. For all the things You showed us–and all that we experienced. I pray that we brought glory and honor to You and not shame in all that we did. I ask that the fire we felt in our souls that week–burn even stronger as we make plans to return–and make plans to go beyond the comfort zone of our lives–as we embark on unknown places to reach the unreached. Let our feet and hearts follow Yours. May we bring You glory daily–until we’re Home. In Your most holy name–Amen.