Three Babies and God’s Grace

On the same Sunday morning in 2015 two babies were born on opposite sides of the world. Neither are particularly special on the surface – neither famous nor particularly noteworthy. Neither knows of the other. However, news of both of their arrivals, and even on the same day, caught my attention and made my eyes a little misty – in a very rich way.

What is so special about these two seven pound babies?

Elliot was born to Pete and Susanna, friends of ours in England. Elliot is Pete and Susanna’s sixth child. Their first son Calvin was stillborn at 22 weeks. Their second son Lewis is a delight and nearing 7. They then had twins which Susanna miscarried at ten weeks. Their fifth child was diagnosed with anencephaly at their first ultra-sound. This rare condition is the absence of a major portion of the brain and skull that occurs during embryonic development. It’s also a diagnosis where mothers are often offered the chance to terminate their pregnancy because the baby’s life expectancy post-birth is roughly a few hours to a few days at most. Susanna and Pete, believing all babies are God’s creation, bravely decided to carry the baby to term. They held their baby daughter for a precious eighty minutes before losing her to earthly death. They named her Anastasia which in Greek means ‘resurrection’. After reading this, it will make more sense why my eyes were moist when I woke up on this particular Sunday morning to receive the following message:

With great joy and thankfulness we are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Elliot Jim into our family. He arrived at 1.30am, this morning (25th January) and weighs approx. 7lb 2oz.

Fourteen hours later in the middle of the USA, Payton entered the world to Landon and Heather, friends of ours here in Columbia. The details of Landon’s and Heather’s story are more private in nature and theirs to tell. With Heather’s permission, I can tell you that she went through a divorce, which like most divorces, included periods of intense loneliness and hopelessness. As a single mom of three kids, when she was least expecting it, she was pursued by a wonderful Christian man, and they married a year later. On Sunday, fourteen hours after Elliot entered the world, and on a completely different continent, Landon and Heather welcomed their baby girl Payton into the world.

Elliot and Payton brought hope to hurting families. This Sunday we will celebrate the birth of another baby, Jesus.  Jesus brings hope to a hurting world. Jesus is God’s solution to the world’s condition. Jesus came precisely to offer new life to all those who believe – and to those who are hurting, hurting badly. There is no place where the brokeness goes so deep that God’s grace can’t go deeper.

We have a God who is still in the business of making things new and redeeming the yuck. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this year, may we remember that there is nothing, no curse or situation, that is outside the joy and hope his birth offers.

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love.

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