Six years ago, on a cold December evening I received a call from a nurse in the newborn nursery. “Sister, are you busy?” “We have a baby who needs a little TLC. Could you come and rock him?”
Minutes later I was in the nursery where I learned the story. “His birth mom,” the nurse said, “in compliance with Illinois Infant Safe Haven Law, brought him to the ER and asked the staff make sure he is given a good home". The mom handed them a bag with two infant outfits and a list of family illnesses. She kissed her baby one last time and left.
“We named him Nicholas, because he was born so close to Christmas,” said the nurse.
The processes for foster care and adoption would begin in a couple of days, but for tonight Nicholas would be under the hospital’s care. I was only asked to rock Nicholas for an hour but I would carry his story with me for the rest of my life.
As I rocked Nicholas, I studied his face and pondered the Christmas message. Nicholas’ birth will always be a mystery. Thinking of his mother, I whispered, “Nicholas, I hope someday you will realize how deeply your mother loved you. In what must have been a confusing nine months, she chose to give you a chance at life. She protected you, nourished and cradled you beneath her heart. She felt your every movement and respected your little personhood. She did not abandon you but rather entrusted you to a family who could love and care for you."
Continuing to rock Nicholas, I thought about Christmas and the depth of God's love. I marveled as I reflected on how much God trusts us. God's love and trust are so unconditional that He sent His only Son into our world, not as a strong and independent adult, but as a fragile and totally dependent infant! God's son would not be born in a castle or villa but in a stable where animals take shelter.
People will look at Nicholas and never comprehend the depth of the love story behind his arrival at the hospital. They will think he was abandoned and unwanted, but in reality he was reverenced and respected by a mother who wanted him to live and grow in a family that could care for him. Likewise, people looked at Jesus and thought they knew where He came from, but they really didn’t know. He was not the son of a carpenter as people thought, but the Son of God. Who can comprehend the depth of love that moved God to let go of His Son and entrust Him to our care. Could we ever love and cherish Jesus as much as God, His Father?
After an hour a nurse took Nicholas from me. It was then I realized that I had been holding more than baby Nicholas. That night I held the mystery of Christmas in a new way, I held the mystery of the gift of love and trust not in an abandoned baby but in a baby entrusted to the world.