In Max Lucado's 1987 Masterpiece, God Came Near, chapter 4 had me in tears. I had to read it over and over because it was so beautiful and I couldn't help but think what an amazing Christmas program closing this would make. Picture it:
Young Mary holding her infant son close, knowing she would have Him for only a short while, praying this prayer with a heartache unlike anything she's ever known before.
God. O infant-God. Heaven's fairest child. Conceived by the union of devine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.
Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.
Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leaper's open wound,
to wipe a widow's weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.
Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white- clutched tonight in an infant's fist. They aren't destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.
Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.
You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.
You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.
You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.
Oh eyes that will see hell's darkest pit and witness her ugly prince...sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.
Lay still, tiny mouth. Lay still mouth from which eternity will speak.
Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.
Rosebud lips- upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you- lay still.
And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.
Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?
Do you feel the cold sea water upon which you will walk?
Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?
Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase in to Satan's domain?
Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.
And little heart...holy heart...pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?
You'll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.
You'll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.
You'll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.
And you'll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.
Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.
And there you'll rest again--this time in the embrace of your Father.
God Came Near by Max Lucado
(C) 1987 published by Multnomah Press
Used with permission
From the arms of his mother, to the arms of his Father...the journey our Lord traveled in between was nothing like anything we can imagine. We can read about it, we can think we know what Jesus felt or experienced based on our own experiences...but we'll never truely know.
Mary's prayer for her son, her Creator, is that of a mother who spent 9 long months anticipating his birth, feeling him wiggle around in her womb, growing...the creator being created.