Now that we are into December I feel I can write a few blogs about Christmas. This first one is an amazing open door the Lord gave me and it reminded me so much of the birth of our Saviour, not so much in a strange land, but in a strange place.
My daughter, Cheryl, was teaching ESL here in Moose Jaw a few years ago. I had the privilege of meeting many of her students, eating in their homes and inviting them to special events in the city. One young couple were newly arrived from Africa and they were working hard at learning English. They were also expecting their second baby.
One day Cheryl came to me with a problem and asked if I could help. That couple had been sent to the hospital for a tour and to learn about the birthing process here in Canada. They were frustrated, not understanding half of what was told them and the birth was fast approaching. Things here were not at all like having a baby in Africa. In their culture aunts, cousins, grandma’s and mothers were near and ready to help. But the fathers were not involved at all.
“Mom, there is no one to go into the delivery room with this young woman. Would you be willing to do that?” Cheryl asked. I had five children so I knew what to expect and agreed to be there. She talked the father into at least being there as long as Cheryl was there to explain in simple English what was happening.
I walked into the hospital and was introduced to this young couple. The father sat in a corner of the room, huddled in a chair while Cheryl sat near him explaining everything that was happening. I stood at the bedside of one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. Her chocolate brown skin was silky smooth and she kept a tight grip on my hand through the ensuing hours. I wiped her face and even though we didn’t know one word of each other’s languages, we bonded in the fact that we were women in a process that has been around since creation.
There were other women giving birth that night so it was a busy place. At the last minute the doctor was busy so a nurse caught the screaming newborn baby boy. What a miracle to hear a baby’s first cry. After the usual weighing, measuring and washing of the baby, the nurse came to us carrying the swaddled, toque-topped infant. “Who gets the baby?” she asked and the father quickly put his hands behind his back. This was not his cultural norm. “Give him to grandma,” and he pointed at me.
Into my arms was placed a beautiful, mocha-skinned, curly-haired baby. What a precious bundle. As I kissed and cuddled him I realized that this little boy would grow up in Canada. Probably learn to play hockey and love football. I turned to the father and surprised him as I placed he baby in his arms. “You are in Canada now,” I told him.
As I walked out of the hospital that night my heart overflowed with joy that the Lord had allowed me to show love to this couple alone in a strange land. No words were needed. I couldn’t help but think of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem on the night when our Saviour was born. Was there a woman who came in to hold Mary’s hand and wipe her brow? If I had been there, I would have gladly done that. Thank you, Lord, for granting me such a precious memory.