Today is a really big day in the Rice household, because we are about to discover the gender of our newest addition. This is surreal for me- as I thought we would be done after three. However, God has given us another precious little one that we can’t wait to meet. Finding out the gender of the baby is a huge moment- just think of how much of a difference that makes… will we have another son, who will have to fend for himself in wrestling matches with his two big brothers? Will we have a daughter, that will drive her big brothers crazy? Then they will fend off all potential suitors of said daughter until she is 30? I think about poor Camilla. Will she once again have four boys to contend with in the house? Or will she have reinforcements in the form of a daughter? I have a lot riding on this as well. I made a bet with Beverly Angelotti, that if this is a daughter, I will wear a pair of pink shoes while preaching. That would definitely be a first for me!
So much of the fun of a gender reveal is watching the reaction of the children- in fact that is the main reason we are doing it- to watch how the boys respond and share the ensuing chaos with our friends and family. I can’t wait to see how they respond. I invite them to come and give their predictions… I saw a reveal recently where a girl broke into tears when she discovered she would be having her 3rd brother and still no sister… it was sad, but also hilarious at the same time. Poor thing.
Hopefully we will all rejoice in whatever God gives us! All life truly is a blessing. Having either another son or adding a daughter are incredibly joyous scenarios where we celebrate new life. No matter the gender or health of the baby, he/she will be a dearly loved member of our family and gift from God. I have a choice to make. As the father I can embrace with thanksgiving whatever God sends our way. Or, I could lament that things didn’t turn out exactly like I hoped or planned. That is my decision. Either I respond in thanksgiving with the circumstances that God has given us, or bitterly complain that it doesn’t measure up to my hopes.
We all have this choice, in all areas of life. Even during this pandemic and ensuing lockdown, we can choose thankfulness and gratitude- or we can give in to the cabin fever and complain. We have the power to choose. This is not easy- it is far easier to simply preach it than to live it. I’m trying to do both- and I’m with you here in the struggle. We need encouragement to keep our priorities in order. We need reminders of why we have every reason to be thankful. Here are a few… this is not the Black Death- which in the 14th century may have taken around half the lives in Europe. This is not even the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, which killed about 675,000 Americans- which is perhaps 6 times as deadly as the Coronavirus we are facing. We have the most robust economy in the world. Though we are struggling, we will rebound better than any nation on earth. We have a government that is springing into action to help and send checks. We are the wealthiest nation in the world- meaning that most of us can sit in the comfort of our own homes will all the modern luxuries possible in this age. And what an age we live in- that we can interact with friends and family all over the world. We can still meet with our Bible Studies, we can still have church on Sundays. We have a state government that considers church “essential”, which means we can continue to prerecord and release services on Sundays. I could go on for hours and hours with all the things we can choose to be thankful for.
The greatest by far, of course, is thankfulness for Jesus. Not only can we be thankful that He gave His life to save us, He also modeled thanksgiving for us perfectly. This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday. We will explore the Passover Psalm that was sung in rejoicing over Jesus during His triumphal entry to Jerusalem at the beginning of the Holy Week. This psalm was also almost certainly referred to in Matthew 26:30 after the last supper- the last song sung by Jesus prior to his betrayal, torture, crucifixion to save us from our sins. What is in this Psalm?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever! -118:1,29
“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” -118:24.
Think about this. Jesus gave thanks for the day that He was betrayed. His mentality as He went to the cross was one of rejoicing. Not typically what we think of right?
We can have the same mentality during this time. Is that something you’d like? Please join us this Sunday for an exciting time when we not only reveal the gender of our baby, but more importantly reveal ironclad rationale for rejoicing in this time.
I hope you are able to tune in. God bless you. Have a great weekend, stay safe, and the next time we see each other will be a time full of rejoicing! See you Sunday.
-Pastor @Nathan Rice