“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son…”
It was Christmas Eve, 2005. We were living in Florida and had family visiting from out of town. At 2am, my contractions started, though it was still too soon to rush to the hospital. Later that morning, as everyone woke up and grabbed some hot coffee, they sat around the fire opening Christmas gifts as we waited. I sat on the stairs counting the seconds between my contractions and jotting them down in a little notebook. Eventually, it was time, and our firstborn son, Luke, was born on Christmas Day.
As I picture this scene with Mary, at full term, and I think back to my pregnancy, and some of the other things I’ve given “birth” to, here’s what I know: whether in the natural or in the spiritual, giving birth to something requires “labor“. There’s always the excitement and thrill with getting the news that you’re expecting. There’s always a fresh momentum and energy with launching out with a new vision. But as you progress, you learn quickly: there will be times of discomfort. There will be learning curves you weren’t quite prepared for. There may be sleepless nights and at times feelings of isolation as you feel like you’re carrying the weight all on your own. And ultimately, expansion of any kind will bring it’s own type of “contractions”. But all of that will be replaced with the joy of knowing you finished and seeing the dream brought to full term.
“Just like a woman giving birth experiences intense labor pains in delivering her baby, yet after the child is born she quickly forgets what she went through because of the overwhelming JOY of knowing that a new baby has been born into the world.” John 16:21 TPT
Personally, I would say I’m in the “pregnant stage” once again with some of the things I feel God has called me to do. I’ve begun the journey, and as I look forward to what’s in store for the New Year, the plans I have for advancing in those areas are aggressive.
But today, as I see Mary delivering, all I can focus on is making it full term and ensuring I “deliver” what God has placed in my heart. I want to make sure I’m prepared and taking the steps necessary be strong and healthy (because delivery requires both). And I don’t just mean physically, I mean spiritually and in my soul – addressing any setbacks I’ve experienced so far and make any necessary adjustments. And lastly, I want to stir up the level of joy in my heart for what is to come. Because the joy of the Lord is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
Wherever you’re at in the visionary or birthing stages, I pray this holiday season you find both – the rest you need to sustain what is ahead and the strength you need to make it to full term. And for us all, may we experience a new level of joy as we keep our eyes set on what is to come.