I saw the first photos of our first grandchild the other day, and it was a profoundly spiritual experience.
Frankly, the images themselves aren’t much: Grainy, ill-defined printouts from a sonogram machine. You certainly can tell that Baby Schroeder is there, growing and kicking; but not a whole lot more. We don’t know yet, for example, whether Baby is a girl or a boy.
We do know, though, that Baby is loved. Baby is already a source of joy for our son Brian and his wife Sarah—and for the proud grandparents, too!
And the more I look at that sonogram image, the more I am drawn into the mystery of it all. Like the villagers gathered ‘round Zechariah and Elizabeth when their son John was born, I am moved to wonder, ‘What, then, will this child be?’ (Luke 1: 66)
We have the answer, of course—even though it’s probably not the one we may think we’re looking for at first.
When we wonder out loud, ‘What will this child be?’, we really tend to be asking, ‘What will this child do? How beautiful will s/he be? Whose eyes and nose will s/he have? Whose hair? And what remarkable things will s/he accomplish?’
But here’s the thing: We can be amazed about Baby Schroeder (and about every baby, for that matter), long before we know the answers to any of those questions. The fundamental truth is already clear, even in a grainy sonogram photo. As the Psalmist sings,
‘You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb…my very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you.’ (Psalm 139)
Sure, God takes delight in what we become, as we grow and become strong in spirit. But the life-giving love is there, right from the start. It’s not a conditional gift. Nor does it fade over time.
So bless you, Baby Schroeder, for reminding us of the spark and the spirit that is breathed into each one us from the beginning. Bless you, for bringing us that much closer to our Creator this day. And please know that our hearts are filled with joy and anticipation of the day when we will be able to thank you face-to-face!