When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
John 16:21 ESV

On this day 9 years ago, my wife and I headed to her doctor’s office confident that this would be the day we got to meet our daughter for the first time. We had been to the doctor and even admitted to the birthing center at the hospital many times before, so we knew there was a possibility that they would send us home again — but we had a sense of urgency and purpose this day that we had not before. My wife had been on bed rest and had been dealing with a condition that was really taking a toll on her body during the last months of the pregnancy. It had been quite a frustrating experience up until this point. But they admitted us to the hospital, scheduled surgery, and we let our family know that today would be the day. After all of the time of challenge and pain and struggle, our lives would be rocked with this baby girl who would change our whole world.

And my daughter was born.

In the delivery room, “All I Want for Christmas is You” played on the radio just as our daughter came into our lives, and it couldn’t have been more true or perfect for that moment:

Even as the fearful realization set in of my responsibility as a father to this tiny little baby girl set in, and as I hoped that I could love her and be a good daddy — she grabbed hold of my finger as they weighed her for the first time and joy surged through my body like a lightning strike from her tiny hand right to my heart.

And I know in my mind that those first months were challenging dealing with little sleep, etc. but I can’t think of a stronger bond of love and joy that had ever touched our marriage to draw us closer together than ever before.

It seems that hope of what the future holds, and gratitude can truly carry us through difficult times full of joy and rejoicing.

And for those of us who are Christians, we have a great hope in what lies ahead for us — a hope and a blessing even greater than the birth of a beloved child. Our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has sought us and bought us lies ahead for us. We eagerly await that time when we will be united with Him. That gives us strength to suffer and struggle in this life, facing troubles and challenges that are forging character in our innermost being through the raging fires of trials and suffering.

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
1 Corinthians 1:8 NLT

Today, we celebrate my daughter’s birthday, and we celebrate the Christmas season when another child was born to us in Bethlehem:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:8‭-‬20 ESV

Thank you, Lord, for so many beautiful blessings that are born to us this day, and that have be born top us leading up to this day. Help us to not waste the day, to not let our joy be stolen away, to not let the challenges of the moment overshadow our hope in your promise, to not allow your Holy Spirit to be hindered in our walk today. Amen.