Next time you make an appointment with me, I’ll just expect you to show up early! Boy, was that a quick surprise! But I’ll take that kind of surprise any day.
We welcomed you into the world on Wednesday, September 18, just two days after your Great Grandpaw turned 76 years old. “We” is a relative term, however, and this relative didn’t get to make it until Friday. But that surprise one-of-a-kind voice you heard while you were still in the hospital? Yep. That was Grammy.
That’s about all I know to say about that.
You were born into a family that absolutely adores children. You were wanted. Anticipated. Prayed for. And delighted in… long before you were ever born.
You big brother Jackson is already crazy about you. He loves to watch you sleep, hold you (with a little help), and pat you while you’re sleeping. He’s both tenderhearted and brilliant – I can’t think of a better big brother for you.
Your parents are pretty amazing people themselves. They love being a Mommy and Daddy. They will love playing with you and teaching you. (Watch out – you Daddy does this under-the-leg basketball pass thingy with babies, and you’re about the right size.) Your Mommy is wonderful at talking to you and spending time with you, and she’s one of the smartest people you will ever meet.
As much as they love you, both of your parents love Someone else more – and that’s Jesus. They have devoted their lives to sharing His love and truth with people around the world. And the wonderful thing about loving Jesus first is that they can love you more because of it.
While your birthday was a day of great joy, you were born into a world of great sorrow. In fact, flags were flying (again!) at half-mast because of some innocent people who had died in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, while people in Colorado have suffered from a devastating flood, people in Kenya are being killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time – a shopping mall.
It’s an angry, sad world we live in; thank you for reminding us again that every time we look on the face of a newborn baby, we are witnessing the dawn of hope, and the hope of dawn. Even your name speaks of this.
Earlier this year a precious friend of your father – Jason Albright – lost his life as he was saving the life of an auto accident victim. Jason was a minister, a passionate believer in Jesus, and a true servant leader. His last act on earth was seeing to it that someone else would live. And though you will never meet him this side of heaven, you will carry his name – Albright – for the rest of your life. It means “glorious” – and what could be more glorious that laying down your life for another?
You carry the name of a prophet that Jesus referred to when the Jews asked Him for a sign. “I will give you no other sign, than that of the prophet Jonah,” He said. The sign: that just as that reluctant prophet “came back to life” after three days, so also Jesus would return from the grave three days later. You, my little six-pound, three-ounce friend, are a symbol of the resurrection. And your name means, “Peace.”
So I look at you on a day when many wonder where there’s hope in the world, and I see you pointing the way to a “glorious peace” – to a love that gives all that others would live, and a power that’s able to conquer the grave.
Meanwhile, as you prepare to be such a world-changer, there are cousins to meet (five on your daddy’s side), and places and people to discover. You are the sixth boy in our growing little family. Then there’s Laura Kate. She’s a category all to herself.
Though you were born in the shadow of a cathedral of sorts that bleeds burnt orange, I imagine your daddy will get you to a place called Tuscaloosa as soon as he can. He will teach you that cats say “Meow,” but elephants say, “Roll Tide!” You will discover places of heritage in Texas and Thailand, and a farm in Alabama where soul roots run deep.
I pray that you have the quick discernment and ready-knowledge your mother has, and the deep passion and cultural sensitivity your daddy has. I pray that you love to read like both your parents do, and that you love music and art and film and photography like most all of us do. Most of all, I pray you fall passionately in love with Jesus Christ and see in all of us something that’s worthy of imitation.
Meanwhile, though you may not understand this for a long time, I doubt you learn the unconditional grace and love of Jesus until the day comes when you need it badly. Please know that even then, as God is our helper, we will love you unconditionally. When you stumble, when you fall, when you wonder if anybody could love a failure like you, we will be there to pick you up, hold you, kick your butt, and hold you some more.
All under the banner of His glorious peace.
All in the hope of His resurrection life and power and love.
So welcome little prophet of glorious peace. I’ll try not to be late for any more of your arrivals.
Now let’s have some fun.
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