Loving from afar: A new perspective on Christmas

Written by Nichole Huggins
Published on December 22, 2020

I sat on my couch, just inches away from my little boy who was playing with his trains on the coffee table. We had been home from school for at least four hours, and he had yet to make eye contact with me, touch me, or acknowledge my presence in any way. 

So there I sat, just inches apart from my little one. I so wanted to scoop him up and snuggle him, to kiss his precious face all over, or to tell him how much I had missed him while he had been at school that day. 

But I know better. I know that, in moments like these, he needs silence and not to be touched. 

That’s just the nature of this thing called autism. 

So, I sat. 

I watched him play with loving pride swelling up inside of me. He’s so beautiful, such a precious soul, a most wonderful blessing and treasured gift. It takes an unbelievable amount of self-control for the mother of a child with autism to learn to love from afar. 

Oftentimes, that’s exactly what I must do.   

Another parent loving from afar

I began to think of another parent who had to love from afar. The thought had never crossed my mind before. I have heard beautiful songs and sermons written about Mary and the beautiful perspective of the young virgin mother of Jesus Christ. 

What a huge responsibility. 

What fear and excitement she must have felt. 

What joy must have flooded her soul as she cradled her baby boy in her arms, knowing that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. 

I have listened to stories about Joseph, the young carpenter. What an exercise of faith it must have been to take Mary at her word and to take her as his bride. What must it have felt like to have been chosen to father the Savior of the world? 

I’m certain he found his heart overwhelmed at times as he plunged into the very middle of God’s story of redemption. 

Have you considered God as a Father?

But what about God the Father? 

Certainly, it is his gift, the gift of his son Jesus, that we celebrate each year. 

But I wonder how he might have felt as he watched Jesus, his one and only Son, be birthed into this world. I wonder how his heart might have raced as he beheld that tiny babe lying in the manger. How he must have swelled with all the joy, love, admiration, and awe that a parent feels at the sight of their newborn child. 

Was there a collision of emotion as he watched Immanuel, knowing what the birth of his child meant for the world and what this sin-cursed world meant for the life of his child? 

As God the Father watched from his heavenly throne with all the delight that fills a new parent, did he long to hold his precious Son? To kiss his soft cheeks? To hold his tiny hand? 

Friends, the Lord is capable of the most complete and unconditional love. Therefore, I can only imagine the love he felt for his Son, Jesus. As God the Father shared his Son with the rest of the world, as he made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me, he chose to love his baby boy from afar as Jesus was wrapped in clothes and placed in a manger. 

He has all understanding and compassion

These thoughts struck me as I sat watching my own sweet boy who was busy playing with his trains as I was loving him from afar: 

  • How thankful I am that Christ does not ask us to conquer temptations without having been tempted himself. 
  • How thankful I am that we do not experience the shame of sin and guilt without Jesus having borne the sins of the world, fully understanding the weight it carries.
  • How thankful I am that we do not experience the deep pain of losing a loved one without God the Father knowing what it is like to have his one and only Son sacrificed for all mankind.  

He has walked our roads, feels our pains, knows our joys, and understands our struggles. God has never withheld himself from our everyday circumstances, but rather he willingly thrusts himself into our world with all understanding and compassion. 

God is near

As I sat there loving my child from a distance, I felt a peace come over me. I am so thankful that I can come to God with the longings of my heart. 

When I long to touch my son—to embrace him, to kiss him, to hold his tiny hand—but instead I must muster up all the strength that is within me to withhold these gifts that are so precious for a mother to bestow upon her child, I turn to Christ.  

And, in a way, I wonder if just maybe the Lord understands what it must be like to love your child from afar. 

Whatever your Christmas may look like this year, whatever you are facing, whatever turn your life has taken this year, may I encourage you that God is so very near? 

He is Immanuel, God with us, and he cares for you!

Live perfectly imperfect

Get daily emails with practical and spiritual advice geared towards helping you set aside perfect and grow into the parent you want to be every day.

Join over 75,000 parents growing into who God made them to be.

Nichole Huggins

Nichole Huggins is a wife and mother of two. Nichole speaks and writes out of a deep desire to meet people right where they are and to lead them to the foot of the cross. Her articles have also been featured at Disciplr , Irresistible Church, and Crosswalk.com. As the parent of a special needs child, Nichole willingly discloses the trials, triumphs, and life lessons of having a child with Autism. Nichole writes her own blog at www.LoveinaDifferentLanguage.com where she offers insight and hope as she shares about parenting, autism, and the faith that holds it together. Nichole is the Director of Special Needs at Prestonwood Baptist Church. She enjoys sharing her passion for helping to equip the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Read more about Nichole

You may also like…

Privacy Preference Center