When the Child Came to Us
Horn honking, we raced through the streets of Taipei towards the nearest hospital. The baby’s head was already working his way out. Would he be born in a car?
They raced to get me inside. My Chinese was basic at best, and I yelled between screams of pain, “Toufa, Toufa,” as I was wheeled through the ER. I thought I was saying, “Head,” in an attempt to let them know he was already crowning. I didn’t know the word for “head” though. Turns out, I was yelling, “Hair, hair.”
A curtain was pulled, and we were surrounded by those wanting to help.
“Who’s the doctor here?” my husband asked in English.
“We’re all doctors.”
Guess a screaming foreigner makes all the doctors come running.
One more quick contractions, and the baby arrived. They were all still trying to decide what to do, attempting an IV, and discussing a game plan. When they saw his head fully out, one reached down to help him the rest of the way.
Relief flooded me at having someone there to help us as this was our first child. “It’s done,” I said.
They began to whisk him away to clean and wrap up. “Can I see him?” I asked.
I was shown my first born. My son. Here with us now. Earlier than anyone expected. Faster than anyone expected. Not in the place expected. A firstborn Son arriving in a foreign place. He came in an unexpected place with unexpected guests attending to the mother.
My son was born in November. As the birth of the Son of God drew nearer, my son played the Son in nativity scenes. A firstborn Son arriving in a foreign place. He came in an unexpected place with unexpected guests attending to the mother. Fear. Pain. Joy. All caught up in that precious moment when life arrived.
Immanuel. “God with us.” A foreigner to being man. Here with us now.
For the nativity, we put on costumes. The child swaddled in cloth. Then we stood outside a mall. We were under a simple barn set with lambs. The wise men would could with camels.
People who had never known Jesus, saw his story unfold, in their language, with a child born in their land. A foreigner, here with us now.
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2, NET
Christmas became more than a story to be told. My flesh and blood embodied imperfectly the flesh and blood that had lived this life perfectly. Immanuel. God with us. Here with us now.