Jesus, John & Abel

We met with Abel’s cardiologist last week for the first time since August and saw a maturation of the heart defect that we were concerned about, called a  coarctation of the aorta. There’s no action to be taken in utero as the Mama is helping Abel compensate, so how his heart functions on its own after he is born can only be put atop the “wait and see” list.
Kelly’s amniotic fluid levels are all the way down to what is considered ‘normal’ for the first time. It had been as high as 28, last growth check was 24, and today it’s at 16… a pretty amazing shift. This has been one measure that we’ve been praying over and are pleased to see.  Kelly has also started feeling contractions, so we’ll be monitoring those closely in the days and (hopefully) weeks ahead. Abel is still in breech position, so if that doesn’t change before Kelly goes into labor then we’re very much at peace with having a C-section to eliminate some variables to his delivery.
  • For our son, the two main areas for specific prayer down the stretch are for healing in Abel’s heart and full cognition in Abel’s brain.
  • As for his folks, prayers that we’d continue to fight for an eternal perspective that trusts the Lord’s heart & intentions with the life of our son… That we’d remind ourselves each morning of God’s character as we find it revealed in His Word.

We don’t snail-mail so good, but here’s a “Christmas Card” of the Crawford crew:  Daniel, Kelly, Abel (35wks) and Dena the Doodle

IMG_6903-1

So- earlier in the month, we posted A New Meaning of Christmas for the Crawford’s with a reflection of ours as we approached this holiday with Abel in tow. On the morning of the 25th, our little family went to the park and read “the Christmas story” as we know it from the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Every time, I love how God saw fit to first share the Good News with those otherwise ‘insignificant’ shepherds… how our ever-poetic Maker sent his angels to point these overseers of the sacrificial Passover lambs toward the true Lamb of God — the little boy who would endure an earthly life  of suffering that we might be spared an eternal life of suffering  [Isaiah 53:4-7].
But even more than the content of Luke 2, what stood out to us this Christmas was the text PRIOR to that first Christmas. Quickly after the  life-altering revelation that she would mother the Son of God, Mary visits one of her relatives (who was also pregnant) in Luke 1:

“At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s baby leaped within her… she gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!’”  [Luke 1:41-45]

Well for starters, the story of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (the angel Gabriel’s first pit-stop in verses 5-25) is easily overlooked but profound in and of itself. Elizabeth was a long married woman unable to conceive and well-beyond childbearing age… While it’s not quite as awe-striking as an unwed teenaged virgin becoming pregnant, we may be equally reminded that the Lord can do whatever He wants. Before Luke ever mentions Mary, Elizabeth’s sudden fertility is itself a miracle and a gift from God.
Now, verses 38-39 seem to indicate that Mary sees  Elizabeth very soon after she learned of her immaculate conception, but I notice that Scripture doesn’t seem very concerned with telling us precisely how many ‘weeks gestation’ Mary was at the time of her visit…

It seems to us that Jesus was Jesus in his first trimester, and in his third trimester, and in the manger, and in the temple, and on the mount, and on the cross.

And Elizabeth’s exclamation in verse 41 confirms that  Jesus did not ‘become’ the Christ at age 30.  Before he was yet born, Jesus was ALREADY the Messiah whose plan & purpose was sovereignly ordained by the Father.  So too, Elizabeth’s child (whom God also had big plans for, known by his peers as “John the Baptist”) is called her ‘baby’ and not given a sub-human prenatal designation. In their mothers’ wombs, John was fully John and Jesus was fully Jesus, fearfully & wonderfully made. 
While the accounts of these pregnancies are clearly accompanied by abnormal & extraordinary details, we believe that our son Abel (and every other life that the Lord creates) share a truth in common… that from the womb our little boy is ALIVE, and has been entrusted to us for nearly 36 weeks now. We believe that the Lord invites & encourages us to pray for our heart’s desires (and thus, for Abel’s health) and yet we also believe the Lord’s plan for Abel’s earthly life does not hang in limbo… that whatever happens, God has chosen to let Kelly & I partner with Abel in bringing glory to that first Christmas Child. And in any outcome, stewarding his little life has already been the greatest honor of ours.

FullSizeRender-1

-D&K, and A