Isaiah 9:6-7New King James Version (NKJV)
She kissed the face of her son. She was making a sacrifice—a huge one—but she never hesitated, never stopped to question, never doubted in the perfect plan of God that had brought her to this moment. Even as the loss of her son, God’s greatest gift to her, hung over her heart, she knew it was the right thing to do. Whatever befell her, his mother, was far less important than what would happen to her son.
On December 19, around 10:55, Patrick Collins was wheeled into the operating room to receive a liver transplant from a living donor. And Annette, his mother, settled onto her own gurney. Having given him the gift of life sixteen years ago, Annette was now the living donor that would provide Patrick with a large part of her own liver so that her son might live.
Think about another mother, thousands of years ago, laying her newborn son onto a manger’s hay. The shepherds, having been visited in the quiet hills by angels, had come to worship the Child and gone on their way, spreading the word to all they encountered about the miracle that had taken place in Bethlehem (Luke 2:17). More people—rich and poor alike—would come but for a little space of time, Mary held her Son tightly, rocking and singing a lullaby. Perhaps Joseph had gone off to look for food for his family, passing among the other travelers and explaining the situation. My wife has just had a child. Can you spare a blanket? A loaf of bread? A flask of wine?
Alone in the stable, the animals all hushed in awe at the events of the night, Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
“To ponder” is to think carefully, especially before making a decision. What decision did Mary need to make? She had already agreed to bear God’s Son, to be the “handmaid of the Lord Jehovah” (Luke 1:38). She already knew that He would be called the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) and that His Kingdom would have no end (Luke 1:33).
But did she know about the Cross? Did she know that the tiny being she held in her arms would need to sacrifice His life? Did she know that as the blood ran from His wounds her own heart would break? As she laid the sleeping Child in the makeshift crib, did she know that she would hold His still body in her arms when sin’s debt was paid?
Mothers ponder many things.
For Annette, the pondering began when Patrick was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome and intellectual disabilities. Would she be up to the challenge of mothering a special needs child? Would she know how to teach him, how to love him, how to give him the life she wanted him to have?
Annette said yes. Yes to all the added burdens the mother of a special needs child has to carry, yes to the medical bills and school services and unending tiredness. And, a few months ago when it became apparent that Patrick’s liver had suffered irreparable damage and would need to be transplanted, she said Yes to being his living donor. Annette, now home from the hospital, has 6-8 weeks of recovery time ahead of her. Both mother and son are recovering well and the family anticipates that Patrick will go home on December 26.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, also said Yes. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us of Mary’s thoughts as her Son “grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). But we know she was by His side as He began His ministry. We know that she was at the Cross when He gave His life. And we know that Jesus asked the disciple John to care for His mother as his own (John 19:24).
Mary loved Jesus.
Annette loves Patrick.
Unto us a child is given. And when we are given a child, no matter what the future may hold, we rejoice.
And, because God has given mothers the right amount of love and caring, we do what needs to be done.
We say "Yes."
A Blessed Christmas to You All, and a Speedy Recover to Annette and Patrick!