Guest blogger Sharon Cargin explains how God surprises are part and parcel of Silent Night, the Christmas story, and parenting a child with special needs.

God surprises are on guest blogger Sharon Cargin’s mind this Christmas season. In today’s post she reflects on the God surprises she experienced after the birth of her son, many of which are similar to what Mary experienced.

God Surprises

Silent Night was meant to be sung with an organ like all good hymns in the 1800’s. The Christmas Eve it was to debut, the organ refused to work. My favorite explanation is the church mice ate through the billows. The only option available was to quickly adapt the song to be sung with a guitar. What a surprise for the composers who envisioned an organ but had to settle for a guitar. One of the God surprises that led to a much more beautiful, magical song.

The lyrics of Silent Night tell about a series of God surprises. Who plans the birth of the long-awaited Savior King of the world to a virgin? Who planned for the young, pregnant girl to travel 70 miles when she is about to give birth? Who planned for the baby to be born in a stable with a manager as a cradle? Who announced this marvelous, long-awaited king by angels to smelly, lowly shepherds? A crazy plan, yet it is the perfect plan as we look back on it–a perfect God surprise. 

We also had a son born at an unplanned time and place. 

My body went into labor 3 months early.
Our third son was not born in our hometown surrounded by family but rather 120 miles away in a bigger hospital.
My travel plan morphed into being transported by a life flight helicopter.
My beautiful, awaited son spent 3 months in a scary plastic box covered with tubes and wires.
We had to wait almost 2 months before we could even hold him.
This baby spent 3 months in a room filled with bizarre noises, bright lights and daily heel pricks to take blood.

The adaptation of Silent Night and our Savior’s birth story were God surprises that became beautiful perfect plans. It was hard to find the beauty in the plan of our son’s birth as over time. He couldn’t do the things a normal baby could, and he was given a diagnosis of quadriplegic cerebral palsy. His life required complete care to do daily tasks and a custom, fitted wheelchair. We have struggled to keep him alive for the last 30 years, and it has been hard to embrace his life as a perfect God surprise. I think that is where faith comes in, where we have to surrender our expectations to a loving, all-wise God. He promises that every detail of the lives of those who love Him will be worked into something good. 

Could it be that God can use all of our circumstances that seem so surprising to us maybe even gut-wrenchingly, difficult into His perfect plan?
Are there God surprises for each one of us?
I can tell you with full confidence that my son’s life, even though he is disabled has been and will continue to be used for good.
He brings love and laughter to all he comes in contact with.
Because he has had a life of pain and suffering our son has an innate ability to connect with others who are hurting.

 Have you ever had a plan that went so far off schedule you were devastated, confused and wondering what could be worse? Maybe it is time to believe that God does have a perfect plan filled with God surprises for you. Just like in the adaptation of Silent Night, the birth of God’s precious Son, and my own son’s birth and life. Take heart, God is with us!

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
Romans 8:26-28 (Message Bible)

Sharon (wearing white shirt) is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She has taught elementary school and homeschooled. Teaching and mentoring children and teens has been a joy in her life. Life was fairly normal for Sharon but pretty much blew up at the birth of her third son who was born 3 ½ months premature with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Sharon has a passion to encourage others and share some of the lessons she has learned over the years.

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