Labor Day

From the U.S. Department of Labor website:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

How many of you knew this about Labor Day?  Most people just think it is a day for picnics, the unofficial end of summer. a day off from work!  When I hear Labor Day, I think of another meaning for the word labor, and my three “labor days”: May 3, May 9 and March 12 – the birth dates of my 3 children; some serious “labor days”!

mgDzjlMI have many memories of those 3 days!!  I remember pain like I had never experienced before or since.  I was determined to go through labor as naturally as possible so for the first 2 births, no epidural for me!!!  I wised up for kid #3 – i was ready for that pain reliever and it worked like a charm.  I don’t recall the number of hours labor lasted but do remember the intense relief that came when I could start pushing!!!

I will never, ever forget the final moments, the relief of delivery, how the pain ended as soon as their heads came out – like flipping a light switch.  How little they each were.  How beautiful they were.  How amazed I was that they had come out of me!!  The joy my husband and I felt.  No exaggeration, those were three of the happiest days of my life and I am deeply grateful for each one.

Today is a typical Florida day, it is hot, (89 degrees) it is humid (66%), it is sunny.  It is Labor Day, stores are full of special sales, people are heading out to the beaches, boats are leaving marinas.  I cannot help but think of another “labor day” over 2000 years ago.  No one was celebrating, no parades, no sales, no picnics; there was no Act of Congress declaring  a national holiday; in fact, almost no one noticed.  A young woman, alone, was in labor in a stable which might have been just a hollowed out place in a rock wall.  She had no option regarding pain relief, was not able to distract herself watching T. V. in her cozy birthing suite, no family members waiting in eager anticipation – just a husband who had done the honorable thing when he heard of her pregnancy.

The pain I experienced, she experienced.  I had several helpers, she had no one.  Who told her it was time to start pushing??  Was she afraid?? Who cut the umbilical cord??  Who cleaned her baby??  Who was this baby??  It was Jesus.  The Light of the World entered the world in a tiny, human body.  He entered in a gush of water, smeared with blood, just like my babies did.   As I remember my “labor days” I have to compare them to that “labor day” so long ago and marvel again and God’s perfect and amazing plan.

Jesus humbled himself, He left the beauty and perfection of heaven, to be made flesh.  He passed through the birth canal in the same way most of the world does, the same way my babies did.  And like my babies, he needed swaddling cloths changed, he needed feeding and burping.  He had to crawl before he could walk and toddle around his father’s carpentry shop before he could walk on water.  He talked “baby talk” before declaring, “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the Bread of Life.”  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Perhaps it seems odd to be telling the Christmas story on Labor Day.   But I think it is a story for every and any day. It is a story we need to meditate on and talk about more than once a year.  A story so big that it divided the way we count the passing years; B.C. became A.D.  Imagine the hush in heaven, the only begotten Son, born like countless other humans, born like you and me.

Thank you God allowing me to experience my personal “labor days”.  Thank you God for that long ago “labor day” that changed the world forever.  Thank you for sending a Savior who is fully divine and fully human.  Thank you God for His death covered in blood, accompanied by a gush of water from His side.  Thank you God that the grave could not hold Him.  Thank you God for my Savior who understands the state of my heart…

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