On July 9th, 2010, I will become a dad.
It would be impossible to fully explain all the different thoughts, the joys and the doubts, the angst and peace, that go along with that truth. But I’m sure those who are dads can relate. It is the most terrifying and joyful thing to be expecting a first child.
About a month ago, Lauren and I went in for our first ultrasound. Up until that point, it wasn’t real for either of us. We were so concerned about how to pay for things, whether we were ready, outright denying it, that the full weight of a baby forming in Lauren’s womb hadn’t hit either of us. And then we saw on the screen a tiny pulsating white spot. Our baby’s heart was beating so fast and working so hard. At that moment all of the worries and fears that had risen inside us vanished, and we both fell in love with that tiny heart nestled inside Lauren’s caring womb.
A week ago we got to hear the heart again. It’s still beating proudly, anxiously waiting to scream it’s way into our family. As I wrestle with all that’s going on and the prospect of being a dad, something hit me that I don’t think ever could’ve hit me without becoming a father. Jesus was once that little beating heart inside Mary’s womb. Now I can’t help but wonder how God the Father processed seeing his only Son, whom He had been with for eternity, developing from an embryo into a fetus, into a baby, into a child, and into a man. Did his heart leap the first time he looked into Mary’s womb and saw his Son’s first heartbeat? Did he take a picture of it and put the sonogram of it on his heavenly fridge for all the saints and angels to look at and cheer? Did he melt as he saw Jesus’s hands form, his eyelids develop, his kicking legs grow? Did he jump when Mary jumped as Jesus moved and stretched? Even as an expectant father, I can’t imagine the joy God took in watching His Son develop.
But as God peered down to see this baby form, I’m sure His joy was mixed with sorrow. The only reason His Son had to become a man in the first place was because the world sinned. Despite all the delight God might have taken in his Son’s birth, the inevitable death and torture awaiting his Son couldn’t have been far from his mind. What love and pain the Father must have felt in seeing his Son give up his heavenly body and become a man!
I have been so overwhelmed with delight witnessing our baby grow. But I likewise know that the precious beating heart inside Lauren right now will be born into a world of darkness and sin. I am so happy to be a dad, but I weep that our future child will suffer the world of sin. My only hope is that our child will be saved by the beating heart God was so pleased with 2000 years ago.
In thinking about all this, Christmas has taken on a new depth. It is a celebration. God became a man and was born to be the Lamb of God, the Savior, the Christ, Immanuel! But for me this year, it is a celebration rooted in sorrow because his birth was only necessary because of my wretchedness–his incarnation was due to a world of darkness and his purpose in birth was death.
This Christmas let us rejoice for salvation, but let us mourn it’s necessity.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17