Saturday, December 3, 2022

 Expected Surprises

I remember when I first became a father. My wife, Sarah, had taken the home test in early June of 2003 and the diagnosis???… “parenthood.”  The condition was confirmed a few days later when Sarah visited her doctor.  We were so excited that later that night we went to supper with my parents at Applebee’s, where we intended to share the good news.  We decided to reveal the surprise by inserting a picture of the ultrasound into a wad of other photos of our recent mission trip to Mexico.  I grinned from ear to ear as I waited for them to come across the ultra sound photo, because I knew that they too would be ecstatic!  I inwardly hoped that in their excitement that Dad would offer to pick up the tab for supper.  They came to the photo.  My mother squealed, “Oh, what is this!  Eeeek! You are having a baby! How wonderful!”

“Congratulations you two!,” my father added, “Here is your half of the bill.”

Nothing could shake our excitement…even having to pay the Applebee’s bill was tolerable.  We knew that things were going to change, but I was convinced that we were going to be the best parents ever.  I had given parental lessons to all kinds of parents through the years, enduring their scowls and bitter looks of resentment as I offered counsel and advice of how “I would do it if I were in their shoes.” Now I was going to prove that not only was I a “know it all,” but also a “do it all.”  I wasn’t worried in the least.


As part of our birthing classes, which apparently new parents are strongly encouraged to attend…and new fathers are required to attend by their “soon to be a mother,” spouse. 

It was at these classes where you learn how to breathe, push, flip and bounce out a baby.  It seemed simple enough…I figured I would let the doctors take the lead…though I was ready to advise if needed…after all, I had taken several night classes on the subject. 

Then one night, the class instructor rolled out a large thick television with a VHS player mounted below.  She began to play countless videos of birthing, mommy care and baby care.  The birthing videos made me a little more nervous…but it was really the “How to take care of your baby” videos that freaked me out.” 

These videos spoke of all of the dangers that lurked in your home; radon, carbon monoxide, bleach, toilet brushes, plastic bags, Lego, Asian lady beetles, dogs, cats, cribs, pillows, bedding, diaper changes, falling chandeliers, car seats, refrigerators, fishing fillet knives, vacuum cleaners and sleep deprived parents shaking their babies…pretty much EVERYTHING that you have in your home is a vessel of death to an infant.  THERE WENT MY PEACE!!!!

I was not afraid of fatherhood…until…I watched those videos!

I was suddenly paralyzed by fear. The expected anticipation of fatherhood was now replaced with expected apprehension. 

I feel similar in other aspects of life, one moment I am ok and feel that I have everything under control and the next my peace has been swiped from me like a shaken Etch-A-Sketch. 

All throughout the Bible, the Lord repeats a promise of a Savior to come.  Yet, in the anticipation of the promised Savior, the world has had to endure the struggles of this life.  Mankind continues to wrestle with fear, hunger, pain, disease and oppression.  In Luke 1, we find that the promise of the Savior is refreshed.  It had been about 400 years since God had last spoken to mankind directly.  In his last message, he promised a prophet was coming.  In Luke 1…after a LONG silence…God delivers on that promise!  It is a promise of hope and peace and joy and love.  It is a promise of Jesus, the Savior.

O come thou long expected peace…thou long expected Jesus and save us from this world of anxiety and oppression!

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