By Dr. John E. Morgan
Pastor–Collinsville Baptist Church
It was the first Christmas that I would not be with my parents and family in Nashville. Sounded awful.
Nashville Christmas was my daddy’s boiled custard and sausage balls, my mother’s big dinner, the living room full of presents under a beautiful Tennessee cedar tree. A Nashville Christmas was all of my sisters and their families. It was touch football in the front yard. It was all I had ever known. I had always been there. And now I would not be there.
It was 1978. We had lived in Collinsville for a year. We had two amazing little boys. And now we were expecting another one. Soon. There would be no travel this Christmas.
On December 23, my wife told me it was time. We left the house to go to Gadsden to the hospital. Two girls from the church youth group came over and stayed with our boys.
Since this was our third time through, we knew the ropes. We checked in at the hospital and went to the waiting room. Babies come when they come. Somehow each of our four came only after a full night of waiting. The nurses came in and out of the room as we waited. We smiled and held hands between pains. We knew it was almost time for the magic moment.
Finally, both of us to moved into the delivery room. The third delivery turned out to be the easiest of the four. The baby arrived, and Gloria and I smiled. No, we beamed. And cried a little. The magic moment came – the moment when you first hold your newborn baby. It is a moment that is indescribable to someone who has not experienced it. And unnecessary to describe to anyone who has. I do not know how anybody can have a baby and not believe in God. Birth is a miracle.
We moved over to a regular room. My wife was, of course, exhausted. I kissed her and got ready to go back home. As I walked out of the hospital into the cool December air it was just before dawn on December 24, Christmas Eve. I stopped at the Waffle House to celebrate with breakfast (our family really knows how to party).
I woke up Claire and Robin and sent them home. When John and Mark woke up, I told them their new baby brother had come and everybody was fine. And that his name was Matthew.
I napped a little before going back to the hospital. When I got there, I went to the nursery and looked through the window at Matthew. He was all pink skinned and wrinkled on his blue blanket. He was perfect.
Gloria and I had known that a birth on Christmas Eve would mean that she would spend Christmas in the hospital. And that we would both be away from our families for the first time ever on Christmas. We knew we would miss them. But, oh, this was so much better. How wonderful. Again – how miraculous Matthew was.
On Christmas day, I received a couple of presents. First, Gloria’s parents showed up at our house. They could not stand the idea of having a grandchild they had not seen. Then the phone rang. It was Gloria. She asked if I could maybe come pick her and Matthew up. It had only been a little over twenty four hours since the birth, but the hospital had decided that Matthew and his mother should not be in the hospital on Christmas Day.
I rushed down to get them. Matthew was fine. Gloria was exhausted for several days, her price for coming home early.
Back home, we celebrated Christmas in a way that we never would again. A new born baby at our house on Christmas day. What a present.
Who else has ever known the joy of a newborn on Christmas? Maybe you can think of someone who had a baby far from home and family. Merry Christmas. Remember the baby.
And she brought forth her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7