We welcomed Francis Thomas into the world the other day, and I marveled at his beauty.
First-born son to our daughter Ellen and her husband Shane, the little guy weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs 13 oz. He’s got good lungs, too, if his newborn cries are an accurate indicator. And an emerging curiosity: He doesn’t hesitate to open his eyes, soaking in the strange and wonderful sights all around.
It’s great for Gramps to finally get this actual facetime with the handsome child, because I’ve had a picture of him on my computer desktop for many months now – a remarkably detailed 3-D ultrasound image. (I say “him”, but in point of fact, we didn’t know his gender during Ellen’s pregnancy. The parents preferred it that way – they wanted to be surprised, to savor the mystery, until their child was born.)
So we know now a little more about this precious child than we did before. And we are pleased, indeed. We are moved to pray in thanksgiving, echoing the words Zechariah spoke when his son John was born:
In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
to shine on those who dwell in darkness…
Little Francis dwells in darkness no more. He’s begun his intrepid journey into the light, peeling back the layers of life, encountering unplumbed depths of love and mercy—as he’s cradled in the arms of his Mommy and Daddy (and his adoring grandparents, too!)
And how cool is this: Just an hour or two into his journey, Francis already knows how to return the gaze. To show us, in his inimitable and unmistakable fashion, the very face of God…
God, Who is Love.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.