Tonight, Gabriel had his last “real” bath for a while. Tomorrow, we will make our way to Shriner’s for full leg casts that will prepare him for a January 12th surgery, after which he will be casted during the healing process before transitioning back into braces.
Advent has drawn to an end, yes, but there is still so much waiting, so much longing for Him to come. I’m asking Jesus tonight to show me what it is to embrace the Christmastide season, not to say farewell to the deep relief in His arrival, even to the celebration just yet. The Word was made flesh that He may dwell among us. Made flesh. Like the flesh that will be wrapped in casts tomorrow, like the flesh I can’t stop kissing before I bid it farewell for too long.
We say so often, “it’s just a season,” myself as much as anyone else. And sometimes that’s a comfort, sometimes we need to remember that something will end. But right now, as I think the residual ache of Advent, the remaining wonder of Christmastide and the awareness of His nearness I find that they offer me a treasure that will only be found in embracing these days in all their pain and pleasure. That we have a God who knows the frailty of these human bodies because He resided in one is a comfort greater than any self-made resolve could ever be. He knows. He does not empathize, He sympathizes. He does not condemn human weakness, body or soul.
I’m grabbing hold of the wonder of the incarnation, of the body, the flesh, the humanness. And when this baby is wrapped in casts tomorrow, lying on a clinic table, I’ll remember the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. When Gabriel has moments of pain and discomfort, when we are exhausted and spent, I’ll remember the One who has felt every bit of what we are feeling to a greater degree than I could ever imagine yet has compassion on us. When surgery comes and goes, when this journey seems that it will never end, I will remember that my hope is not found in the bodily remedies of a broken world but in the Body that died and was raised.
We find life, hope, joy, the will to endure in the power of the Incarnation, the nearness of Him and Him alone. Nothing else will do.
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”