"You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God ~ you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration ~ what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day."
~Psalm 139: 13-16
For as long as I can remember, December has been my favorite month of the year. Despite the hustle and bustle and the overspending, there is so much I look forward to ~ time with family and friends, the sound of carols playing in the background, the aroma of gingerbread fresh from the oven, and the greetings received from people we only hear from this time of year. But above all, there is a sense of holiness that seems more tangible than the other eleven months.
Last year brought one more reason to celebrate my favorite month. Our niece gave birth to her first child ~ a healthy, beautiful baby girl. I was blessed and honored to be present for Annie Grace's arrival into the world. Having witnessed my niece's birth, and years later the birth of her own daughter, I can say that there is nothing so raw...yet so holy...as the birth of a baby. As frequently as birth occurs in our world, it is nothing short of a miracle to see new life making its grand entrance. The more I learn and understand about how the human body is formed and functions, the more I am in awe of God's creation.
This weekend we celebrated Annie's first birthday. Her face reflected innocence, wonder, excitement, and joy as many gathered around her to show tangible love for this precious little girl who arrived only one year ago. I can't help but try to imagine her at five...at twelve...at eighteen. I wonder what talents and gifts will surface as she grows...what challenges she will face...what her passion will be. My prayer for Annie is that she will grow up strong in her knowledge and her walk with her heavenly Father...that He will keep her safe and healthy...that her life will be filled with boundless joy, peace amidst all of life's storms, and contentment with herself, her loved ones, and her surroundings.
Annie's life couldn't have started more brightly. She has been given the best parents, grandparents, and a multitude of people who love her unconditionally and will be there for her. Happy first birthday, Annie Grace! I wish you only God's very best. I have to smile as I think ~ how fitting that my latest reason to love December is because of the birth of a baby...
"A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men."
~Martin Fraquhar Tupper
"The first joy of a child is the knowledge that it is loved."