As I walked into our house after work last Saturday, I heard Liam whimpering upstairs in his room and Shawn came to tell me that he had just hurt his leg. Being a super active four-year-old, this isn't out of the norm. But when I got to him, I knew this was more than his typical boo-boo. Hot tears streaked down his snow-pale face as he trembled and pulled his knee to his chest. I asked him what hurt and he pointed to just below his left knee. I asked him to stretch his leg out or put weight on it, and he screeched, "No, Momma! It hurts!" and burst into another round of sobs. I'd never seen him in such agony and knew we needed to see a doctor.
Within the hour, we landed at an orthopedic urgent care clinic nearby. I carried Liam inside like a baby, wrapped in a blanket, as he shivered and cried. He had multiple x-rays done and then we waited for the doctor. At the very worst, I thought he might have sprained his knee.
As the doctor walked into the room with x-rays in hand, he asked, "Liam, can you point to where it's hurting?"
"Right here," he winced.
"I bet it's hurting right there, because you broke your leg," the doctor said calmly.
My heart must have skipped three beats. He broke his leg?
"Yes, so you can see here, he has a closed fracture of the proximal end of his left tibia" the doctor said as he turned to me. "We see these kinds of fractures in kids his age all the time. Weekly, even. Most of the time they're caused by jumping on a trampoline and not bending the knees. This isn't uncommon at all."
Within 10 minutes after that, still feeling the weight of the news, we were in the casting room and Liam was choosing a color for his toe-to-thigh cast that would stay on for 4 weeks. It's hard to explain what it feels like to watch your four-year-old's entire leg be wrapped up in a cast. I stroked his tiny leg one more time, knowing it would be covered in fiberglass for weeks. My mind wandered to the many activities he wouldn't be able to participate in for 4 to 8 weeks or more. I thought of the tiny baby growing inside me and the possible strain of carrying Liam around the house with this heavy cast.
Then I looked at Liam, who was perfectly calm. "Look at my Spiderman sticker, Momma. Isn't it awesome?"
After his cast dried, I brought Liam home to his waiting Daddy and Suzu (his grandma). Besides being in pain in the first couple days, he hasn't complained once about his new limitations. On the morning after the break, I lifted him into the dining room chair and gave him some markers as he exclaimed, "Since I can't walk now, I can draw lots and lots of pictures!" He now drives a tiny yellow wheelchair and he's become quite the expert at rounding corners.
Something special always hits me each Christmas, and it's exactly what I pray for. "Lord, give me eyes to see your glory in a fresh way. Dazzle me with the truth of your coming."
This year, as I saw that jagged grey line through Liam's tibia on the x-ray, it nearly broke my heart. A four-year-old with a broken leg just feels so unnatural, and my mama heart just breaks at the thought of him feeling pain. Then I thought about our God on the very first Christmas. The Father sent His perfect, holy Son into our dirtiest, darkest world and He knew that His Son would be broken. He'd be beaten and spit on and mocked and tortured and ultimately killed in the most humiliating way. And even knowing all of that, He sent Jesus and celebrated His arrival on the earth. He had joyfully foretold His birth for centuries before the time would come. And then the moment His Son was birthed into the world to walk among us, there was so much joy in God's heart that all of Heaven exploded in celebration. The Light had come to shatter the darkness, both now and forever. But how? And why? Because He loves us that much. You and me - sinners who deserve nothing but death. God came for us, and He didn't drag His feet about it. He lit up all of Heaven and the skies over Bethlehem that night like a proud Daddy just wanting to tell the world about His boy.
I see Liam's broken leg this Christmas and am reminded that Christ was broken for us, and willingly so. Whether you have a boy with a broken leg in your house as a reminder or not, I pray this Christmas is full of hope, knowing just how loved you are. Jesus came for you and God celebrated His coming because He knew that Jesus would bridge the gap to Himself. Let us never forget that.
Thank you, King Jesus, for gifts in such unexpected places.