On July 29th several years ago, the Mathews family went to Baskin Robbins (or the Big BR, as my dad would call it) to celebrate our oldest son's birthday. When the ice cream was almost gone, we remembered to sing: "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…" I was choking up and couldn't finish the song because I realized other people in the restaurant were singing along with us.

It reminded me of that painful, sweet, and surreal night when Max was born. I had experienced this same feeling, but for the very first time.

I don't remember the exact sequence of events, because, as my dad would also say, "I've slept since then." But, shortly after Max was born and the room was beginning to quiet down, Brahm's Lullaby started playing over the hospital speakers.
"That's a pretty song," I thought.
The nurse was putting the finishing touches on my recovery routine. I was holding the most beautiful, porcelain-faced baby in my arms.
"That's for you," she said. "Whenever a baby is born, they play Brahm's Lullaby to announce the new arrival to everyone in the hospital."
Now, the song was not just pretty, it was putting a knot in my throat. That's for my baby!

In 2002, our Bear River football season gave us a similar "we cheer your son" experience. Max had tried out for another team, and did not make it. The same day he was cut, we drove another 35 minutes north to put Max on the Bear River team. They accepted him with open arms. Later in the season, when we played the afore-mentioned, unnamed team that had the audacity to cut Max, the Bear River Bruins played with a passion to avenge Max's cut from the team. It was the best they had ever played�and it was the only game they won all season. They cheered Max the whole game, even though he didn't play much. We raised a toast to him at the end-of-season party because he had been the inspiration for winning our only game. Again, I was too chocked up to participate in the toast. These people loved my son�it was overwhelming.

On that first Christmas night, when Mary heard that a host of angels had announced the birth of her wrinkled, tiny baby boy, I wonder how she responded. Did her eyes grow wide with questions? Did she choke up and become unable to finish her conversation. "These shepherds adore my son!?" "Thousands of angels have come to announce his birth!?" I'm sure she also breathed a sigh of relief because this heavenly announcement was a confirmation- a reminder after a hard night of laboring that she had indeed born the Son of God. Luke 2:19 says "Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart."

I hope she kept the joy of that night locked up tightly. I hope she saved that memory for another day when she would need it most severely.

And on that gruesome day more than three decades later, as she wept at the foot of the cross where her first-born hanged, maybe she opened that treasure box and let the peace of that first night fill her. Maybe she was able to reconcile this awful event with that first beautiful night by once again hearing the words of the angel: "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)