Tears blurred my vision as I watched the already fuzzy home video. A tiny little bundle with tubes coming out of its mouth and IVs attached to its body was cradled gently in my dad’s arms.

That pitiful, stringy little form was me, at negative two months old on Christmas Day, 1992. I had been born three days before, and my dad had come to the NICU to spend Christmas with my mom, my twin, and myself.

In the video, he and my mom were singing a Christmas song, and afterward, they fussed, cooed, and smiled while speaking all kinds of sappy sweetness to that little, pathetic-looking bundle. After a few minutes of making much over me, they repeated the routine with my sister.

Even the poor quality of the video couldn’t fail to capture what was being so blatantly conveyed in it. No one could watch that video without seeing that, to my parents, my sister, and I was infinitely precious. The love they felt for us, and their relief that we were alive and growing healthy after being born prematurely was unmistakable.

This video was filmed after my mom had been so sick due to her pregnancy that she had to spend six months in the hospital, and after my dad had been told that all three of us were probably going to die.

I think this video so beautifully demonstrates what it looks like when parents discover that their children are gifts: when they realize they are simply to be deeply cherished and treasured, not controlled or grasped.

In Psalm 127, the psalmist begins his psalm by metaphorically illustrating the ways a parent might anxiously seek to watch over, protect and maybe even control their child. His response to such parental disquiet (in addition to reminding the reader that God is truly the one who holds their child) is merely to remind the reader of how wonderfully precious it is to have children. In verse 5, he declares: “Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them [children]” and in verses 3-4 he also asserts confidently that to have children is a “heritage” and “a reward.”

For those of you with children, I would simply like to encourage you to remember how precious your children are: that they are gifts from God to be cherished.

Have you told them you loved them today? Have you hugged them close even if they shrug you off and seem too cool for it? Have you praised them and told them that you will root for them and believe in them to flourish even if they repeatedly fail to do so? That you will love them no matter what they do?

Ashley Carr

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