“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” -C.S. Lewis
Once, thousands of years later, in a small clinic in rural Uganda, a baby was born and named Emmanuel…“God with us.”
The Baby born in the stable was a gift to the whole world—a gift to this baby born in Uganda, and his mother, and father, and all of us—so that we could actually know what it means to have God with us.
Little Emmanuel’s very life is a miracle, a beautiful story of God with us.
His mother, Sandra, had been married for two years, but hadn’t yet conceived. Everyone said she was barren.
She was beginning to succumb to pressure from some to try witchcraft, but instead she prayed for a whole year… and finally became pregnant!
What relief and gratefulness and anticipation must’ve filled her soul as this miracle grew in her womb.
Sandra started going to her prenatal check-ups, and she received a Mama Kit—all the supplies she would need to deliver her baby and then care for him afterwards. In Uganda, regardless of whether a woman gives birth in a hospital or in her dirt-floored home, she is required to provide all of these supplies for herself.
As a desperately poor woman in a rural community, imagine the burden of trying to get those items in advance of your baby’s birth.
It makes me wonder what Mary, mother of the true Emmanuel, had with her when she gave birth in the Bethlehem stable…
But God was with Sandra and her baby, caring and providing for them, making sure she had what she needed.
Her pregnancy progressed, Christmas approached and so did her baby’s due date. Oh, the joy Sandra must’ve felt as she prepared to meet her baby!
Shortly after Christmas, in the first week of January, Sandra went for a routine prenatal visit at the clinic… only to be told that she was ready to deliver!
Her long-awaited miracle was nearly here.
Sandra’s first thought was that she needed her Mama Kit. Her husband rushed home on his bicycle to get it as the medics at the clinic tried to make arrangements to get Sandra to a hospital for the delivery.
But labor had already started, and the miracle was coming before they could find a way to get her to the hospital. By the time Sandra’s husband arrived back at the clinic with the Mama Kit, the medics had already resolved to help her deliver right there.
“It was our first time and I did not know what to expect,” Sandra said. “When I heard the baby cry, I was so relieved.”
God was with her. God had answered her prayers. A beautiful baby boy was born!
“Everyone at the clinic was happy that I had a Mama Kit. It is not a place for delivery but because I had all they needed to help me, I was able to deliver my son safely,” Sandra said.
She named him Emmanuel Mwesigwa—Emmanuel meaning “God with us.” Mwesigwa meaning “the Lord is trustworthy.”
Little Emmanuel was born on January 5th of last year, but being so close to Christmas, they felt giving him those names would be a good thing to remind them of the Christmas when they overcame barrenness.
Overcoming barrenness. The very words give such a sense of hope and triumph.
It’s the miracle Christ did for Sandra by giving her her Emmanuel, and it’s the same miracle He did for us by being humbly born in a stable.
We are empty, alone and barren without Him, and He came that we would know life…and know it abundantly. He didn’t want a void and a separation. He wanted to be “God with us.”
May it never be something we take for granted.
As we celebrate the birth of our Emmanuel this week, may the miracle of being able to have God with us touch your heart in a deep, fresh way.
–Photos and reporting done by Julius Caeser