On December 23, 2013, my dad took me to Meijer. We were due to have our fourth baby in about a week. Dad heard me say that we were ready for the baby, but we just needed one more thing – one of those Velcro swaddle blankets. There was a winter storm going strong outside, and my dad didn’t want me to drive. We were staying at their house for Christmas week, because our refrigerator had broken.
Dad drove me to Meijer in his red Impala. He opened the door for me, offered me his arm to hold on to, and led me across the icy parking lot. He followed me around the store while I picked out the swaddle blanket, and then escorted me back to the car. I was considered “advanced maternal age” with this pregnancy, and my dad was almost 70 – neither of us was moving fast.
The conceiving, carrying and birthing of babies has always been the hardest part of our story, so the anticipation was high for all of us when the contractions started that evening. My dad and I still talk about that – spending that time together just the two of us, while he took care of me.
At the hospital, when the clock in the triage room clicked over to midnight between contractions, Jamie and I knew we’d be having a Christmas eve baby. In the delivery room, we looked at the waiting bassinet and baby scale – knowing that a little life was about to join us. The OB on duty delivered our little Christmas eve boy, and shouted, “I think it’s a 10-pounder!” He had been waiting for us to deliver so he could go home to his own Christmas Eve festivities, but he said he was going to wait a little longer to see if Isaiah really weighed 10 lbs. He didn’t, not quite.
Some moments and experiences have more weight than others, but the moment of Isaiah’s birth weighed upon us like the weight of solid gold. He was only 9 lbs 12 oz, but his weight in our hearts was immense and still is. The weight of my Dad’s love and care for me is immense also.
“Glory is not found in matter, but glory is what matters – the most significant and weighty things.”
He said we can choose to give weight and significance to the wrong things – to things that don’t deserve it; the things that in the end are empty and light and insignificant. (How clean the house is, how “on top of things” I am for Christmas, what I’m going to wear.)
To God, the word glory is displayed in a vulnerable baby, who came to sacrifice everything for what is truly significant.
Now when I hear the word GLORY in a Christmas carol this week, I feel the weight of the word, in the best way. I think of a wedding, a birth, a poignant moment. “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. And yonder breaks a new and GLORIOUS morn.”
Our weary world can rejoice this week because He came to bring us a new morning filled with significance – things that matter.
“I came so they can have real life, more and better life than they ever dreamed.”John 10:10 MSG
Family is a foundation of things that matter. Christmas is going to be so weird tomorrow. But we will see both sides of our family, in person, outdoors in the freezing Michigan cold. It will feel odd and less than great, but we will take a photo and remember the odd year – and it will feel like solid gold.