Every Thought Captive

Are You Ready? A Christmas Meditation, Part II

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

Picture yourself in a doctor’s office, the stark white floors, the aseptic scent, and air conditioning. Framed diplomas hang on the walls with all their honors coded in Latin and calligraphy. Lying on a small table is a stack of magazines with young women on the covers, smiling and snuggling their babies.

She sits on the edge of the examination table, feet dangling, swollen like half-filled water balloons. 39 weeks pregnant, every inch of her body aches, and last night, she didn’t sleep, skin itching so badly that she could hardly stand it. The doctor sits on a rolling stool, very still, quiet, face tilted down. The silence stretches the boundaries of decorum or, at least, the husband’s capacity to wait.

“What are you thinking?” he says.

“I’m praying,” the doctor says. Pause. Just long enough to take it in. “We need to have this baby.”

“Like when?”


“So can we go home and get our bags first?”

“No. We are going to induce, right now.”

The doctor explains the symptoms, the possible diagnosis, and how if we wait for test results to confirm it could be too late.

“I’m going to call labor and delivery to find you a room,” the doctor says. “If you have something to eat, I would eat it now.”

“I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” she says. 

Hours later, trembling and tired, she lies in a hospital bed and submits herself to the delivery. Her husband sits beside her. Time to give birth.

“Daddy, are you ready?” the doctor says. Her eyes are magnified through glasses, bright like she knows something so good it must be seen. “She’s here.”

Without time to breathe and beyond all thought, tears come. The surgical mask grows wet and sticky. A little purpling thing is held by hands in blue gloves. Scrunched, waxy, and smudged in blood. Eyes wide open. Little fingers and toes. And, for a moment, the veil between time and forever seems very thin indeed.

“Hi, baby,” he says. “I’m your Daddy.” Then a shrill and piercing sound becomes the most painfully beautiful song.

“You’re OK. Daddy’s here. Mommy’s here. I love you.”

Christmas comes to us again saying remember the time when “the time came for her to give birth” (Luke 2:6). Remember the time when time’s time had come, and “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Remember the time that God was tucked up tight in a swaddle, lying in an animal trough, because the whole house was packed. Remember the time of your children’s lives, all your precious ones, the time of your very breath; for it is, in truth, a gift of divine love. Remember it’s Christmastime, and Christ has come. Are you ready?

This will be the last Every Thought Capitive of 2023. Look for our next ETC on January 5, 2024. Hope you have a Happy New Year!

About the Author

Photograph of Brett Bradshaw

Brett Bradshaw

Director of Spiritual Formation

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Brett Bradshaw serves as the Director of Christian Formation at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. Andrea is his wife whom he delights to love. Ellie, Emery, and Haven are his precious daughters, the little ones who are a daily glimpse of the Kingdom of God.