((from Natalie))

Dear Jesus,

Happy Birthday, my son!
You’re here and your mom and I are celebrating and studying you with full hearts. It’s all so unbelievable and truly miraculous, I can scarcely take it in. As you peacefully sleep in your Mother’s arms, I find myself reflecting on this journey we’ve been on together. I’ve learned so much from you already.

When your mom first told me about you, I was caught off guard. The reality of you growing inside Mary’s belly was something I was totally unprepared for. I love your mother deeply, but I’ll be honest, I was scared, and maybe even a little angry at the news too. Hope was hard. I had all kinds of thoughts running through my mind. Part of me wanted to run, to escape the public shaming, to avoid the questions. I was tempted to get all self-righteous and focus on my plans, my expectations and me. I had plans to grow my carpentry skills and building business further before embarking on fatherhood. I wanted to feel assured that I could provide all that a family would require.

A baby, beginning our family, well, it was just not in my mind yet. And I certainly had not imagined adoption. All my life, when I pictured my future kids – I had a sense of what they’d look like and what their personalities might be like. There’s something scary about parenting a child that doesn’t have your genes. It’s just different than what I might have planned in my head.

But God had other plans. Not about me, and my genetic heritage, but about Him and His family. I’m so glad he enlisted me for this role. I forget sometimes, but really, over and over, life has shown me that God’s plans are far better than my own. You are the supreme example of that.

As your Mommy’s belly began to show your growth, God softened my heart to the idea of you. And then, it happened: God sent an angel to me in a dream! He removed all of my fears. He told me your name! I awoke with a feeling of a sure calling. Unbelievably, your mom had the same name given to her in a dream! God was so good to give us this reassurance. After that, I felt so confident about fathering you. I felt confirmed that I would be fulfilling a purpose that’s bigger than my own.

And now that you’re here and I can touch the flesh of this truth, as I behold what I once could only believe, I’m overtaken by the awe and wonder of it all. You are FAR bigger than I could imagine. I’m not talking about how many healthy pounds & ounces you weigh –  I’m talking about the idea, the story, the mission of you… it’s HUGE and unlike anything the world has ever seen.

This is not what I would have wanted. I would never have planned for your beloved mother to have to give birth among animals in a stable. I’d rather have had a new custom-tailored onesie, than these meager swaddling clothes for you. But the mere presence of you makes this place HOLY and our family is wrapped in the RICHNESS of God’s love.

You’re only hours old, but you’ve already shown me so much. You’ve taught me that as your father, I’m not your sole provider. God has been with us on the entire journey, providing for our every need, in His timing and His way. I’m humbled. It’s true that in life, we all encounter a changes of plans, and we’re all challenged with doing things we might not do on our own (without some prompting). You are a precious reminder for us ALL that sticking with the status quo can prevent our involvement in something greater.

And, my son, I grasp for words to convey it, but I want to record the moment. The Heavenly Peace that is present over us tonight is astounding! It’s in the air, in the stars above us. Strangers are flocking and gawking over you with reverence and astonished faces. Even the animals in the stalls beside us appear to be overcome with peace. There is a clear hovering of goodwill over you.

I’m poor by the world’s standards my son, but I am RICH because of you, Jesus. I’ll love you with all my being. I’ll give you everything I have.


Your earthly daddy, Joseph

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

-Matthew 1:18-25

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