True Love Means Sacrifice

12.25.17 | by Amanda Tice

God’s love stretches further than anything I can imagine.

Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, 2017

Read the Christmas Story from Luke 2:1-20

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.                John 16:21

During labor with my second son, my midwife asked me how I was doing. I don’t remember my exact answer, but I’m told I looked her hard in the face and I said “this isn’t fun and I don’t want to do it anymore!” (Never mind my son was crowning and I really didn’t have an option; I was done with labor!)

How much does motherhood change us? My priorities, my expectations for myself, and my capacity to love have all changed. The biggest change since becoming a mom is giving up myself for the well-being of these little tiny humans. I frequently end up completely giving up my food for my boys. I’ve given up almost all claim to privacy. And I usually end up throwing myself together last after everyone else is ready.  But my capacity to love has come to a new test recently.

I have always had strong emotional reactions to pain and towards anyone who inflicts pain upon me. My teething son has recently started biting while nursing—mothers who have experienced this can sympathize with the pain of feeling a teething infant bite down and rear backwards while nursing. This has happened more times than I can count. Staying calm while nursing is important because strong emotions during nursing can cause the infant to refuse to nurse anymore. Each time I feel my son’s teeth clamping down, I feel that familiar outrage rising up inside me, and I battle to keep it down. It’s excruciating. It’s degrading. It feels like a betrayal of one of the most intimate trusts.

But then I remembered a line from an article I read about motherhood, connecting it to the words of Jesus: “My body… broken for you.”  This is what Jesus said as He broke the bread during the Last Supper with his disciples, right before he was betrayed with a kiss by one of those same disciples. A kiss, a sign of intimacy, turned to betrayal. Excruciating pain. Utter degradation. And somehow Jesus didn’t lash out as I would. He responded with infinite love. If I look in the mirror and think my body has changed, how much more Jesus’ body is forever changed because of the punishment he bore for us. His body, broken for me. I wonder about his mother, who allowed her body to be broken to birth my Savior.  I have given up much to be a mother.  How much more did God give up when He gave up His own Son?

Christmas is a time of remembering God’s gift to the world. But what is for us a gift, was for God a sacrifice—giving His son to us so that we might be spared the scars He would bear. Jesus was sent to Earth so that we might understand His love for us, so that He could redeem us from our sin. This Christmas, let’s remember His birth and His sacrifice—His body broken for me, for you. The ramifications are eternal, if we just say “yes” and accept Him into our hearts and lives. These thoughts may not fill us with the lighthearted “magic” of Christmas, but they are true; not bubbly and effervescent, but solid and trustworthy.  They remind me that God’s love stretches further than anything I can imagine. And that bring us true Christmas joy!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father for this wonderful gift of Your Son. By making the ultimate sacrifice, You show us how to love our children and how to be Your children. And Jesus, thank You for being willing to have Your body broken so that we might be whole. Amen.