Sometime within the next 300 or so hours, I will hold my second
daughter in my arms for the first time. This will be the third time I
watch my own flesh and blood emerge from the sanctuary of my wife’s
body, and it will be no less magical and soul-rattling than the first
time. I know that imagery creeps some of you out. My gentle, loving
words to you are: don’t be a dummy. I’m not asking you to come
watch; just appreciate the spellbinding miracle of life bursting forth just as the Creator intends. We could still be stuck with birth-by-rib-extraction, but
lucky for squeamish dudes everywhere, that scene only came down once.
We got this instead, and it’s not an inconvenient, weird biological
phenomenon. It’s the physical and visual emergence of new life; the
painful and astonishing appearance of another Eikon – an image-bearer of the One who creates and sustains life.
In the nearly six years since Amy became pregnant with Aiden, I’ve
given more thought to the notion of life than in my 26 or so years
prior. Our experiences with pregnancy, birth, and our own children have
certainly been the impetus for that, but I’ve also been profoundly
affected by the lives of folks around me. Seeing my brother
become a father, watching my other brother be dramatically changed by
his nephews and nieces, and experiencing the evolution of my parents
from Mom and Dad to Pops and Belle – these things have
all deepened my understanding of and appreciation for the indescribable
way that new life defines and redefines all of us.
The journeys of our friends who have adopted have inspired and
changed me in ways that are just as hard to convey. They meet their
kids under completely different circumstances than I’ve met mine, and the miracle
is just as staggering. The Eikon is delivered to them amid pain
and tears, and the beauty of a Redeemer who raises His image to life
over and over again is blinding. We discover that true Life both
emerges in the phenomenon of physical birth and is completely unbound by biology. We are all born. All adopted. All given life. And given life again. If we don’t know that or if we view any Eikon
or his or her arrival as some sort of consolation prize, we’ve come
under the spell of a tragic lie.
Celebrating life in this way is not the exercise in humanism that some would claim, because these wonderful mysteries point to Jesus Himself – the incarnation of Divine Life in flesh, yet unconfined by that humanity. The more we discover that image in ourselves and one another, the more we know the Source of the image. The more we know the Source of Life, the more we image, declare, and establish that Life in the world.
The creation of every child is
quite literally a supernatural gift. As the image of the Divine enters the
world over and over, day after day, we are indeed visited by The
Spirit of Life. It never stops showing up, and whenever and however it
enters our personal sphere, we find ourselves at the center of the
biggest storm of love, joy, and life that we’ve ever known; bigger than
any we’ve ever imagined. We insist that it can’t be surpassed by anyone else’s tale. And it can’t, because this is the gift of Life: when it finds you, there is nothing else; no challengers. Only Life.