When someone asked my daughter what she thought about motherhood and about this tiny addition to her family, she replied, "I'm in love!"
So what makes this particular baby one of those unique babies, set apart, remarkably different? What makes this little child precious above all others?
This baby is the one God has given us. This baby is ours.
I have seven children, one awesome son-in-law, and a jewel of a grandbaby, and they are the dearest people I know. Their voices prick my ears, their smiles bless me, their concerns grab my heart, their joys delight me, their lives touch me in ways that no other voices or faces or lives can.
My children are growing up and moving out of the nest. Still, although they live and move "out there," in different worlds from my own, they are my dearest treasures, my brightest thoughts each day. Yes, they sometimes grieve me, even break my heart, but they are precious...because they are the children God has given me. They are mine.
I was reminded again this weekend, as I was enjoying my sweet granddaughter, that this is how God regards us. He regards us - His children - as beautiful and precious, as His dearest treasures. Not because of anything we have done or will do, not because of any inherent quality or merit in us, but because we are His.
Jesus, facing the trauma of the cross, could not even by that terror be distracted from the great love and care He felt for His children. He prayed earnestly for the children God had given Him, "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours" (John 17:9).
Again, in 1 John 3:1 we are told, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!" God speaks of His children in Scripture as His treasured possession, His beloved, His delight. That so amazes me - that God regards me that way! Even more, I am amazed that my position as God's beloved is eternally secure - that I can do nothing to thwart His love - because His love for me flows from Himself, is grounded in Himself. He loves me because He is my Father. As His child, I am the object of His eternal, unshakable affection.
Another thought also came to mind this weekend, as I was holding my granddaughter. Family is the seedbed, the nursery, the first proclamation of the Gospel. Only a short time ago, I had no more knowledge of my granddaughter than the vague thought of "some day, maybe..." Today and every day to come, on into eternity, she is a real and dear and powerful part of my life, a bright thought, a cherished gift.
This is as it should be - this great delight in and concern for this new person - and I think maybe this is why it is such a gross offense to God, such outrageous blasphemy, when we devalue the children He gives us. Neglect, abuse, abortion - these are not only crimes against another human (against our children no less, who should be those dearest to us) - these are crimes against the character and holiness of God.
Father, thank you for the children You have given me. Thank you for the blessing of knowing more and more of Your gospel love for me through them. Forgive me when I have not reflected the great love you have for me to the children You have given me, and help me demonstrate to them the love and sense of delight that You have faithfully demonstrated toward me.