The babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a…
39 years ago on December 17th, two parents (Bob and Janice) waited anxiously for an attorney to pull in the driveway with their new son. There, in the attorney’s Monte Carlo driving down the road from the hospital, was a 4-day-old boy–oblivious to the larger world or the conditions into which he was born–who was awaiting a name and parents. There he was, lying in the Monte Carlo’s front seat (there was no car seat … it was the 70s, remember?). Pulling in the driveway of a suburban middle-class home, without much fanfare on that cold December day, he passed the boy over to his two new, enthusiastic parents.
Swaddled and unaware, the baby was held and fed and kissed and burped by everybody who could get their hands on him. He cried and slept and ate (and went boo-boo) just like all the other babies born that day. But this one had a story that he wouldn’t understand until much later.
You see, he almost didn’t arrive.
Born to an unprepared 18-year-old girl, the situation almost ended where the baby wouldn’t have left the hospital in an attorney’s Monte Carlo, but in the birth mother’s arms. Since there was a 72-hour waiting period in which a mother can decide upon adoption or keeping her baby, her hesitancy grew. Arrangements for the adoption of this baby, by these parents, had wrapped up long before the due date, but once the baby had arrived, the young single mother was reconsidering.
During this natural hesitation, the attorney phoned the would-be father (Bob) and told him of the dilemma. Hanging up the phone, Bob sat back in his chair and slowly and desperately rubbed his eyes. There was no way he would tell this news to his wife. You see, over the course of the preceding few years, she had lost two babies. Stillborn. Tragic. Devastating. This adoption was a fresh hope for a child of their own. Janice would not handle this news well.
So, the dad prayed. (Which was a miracle all its own, since Bob was an atheist.) “God, hey Man, if you’re real, if you give us this baby, I’ll take him to church every Sunday.” Brief, simple, and ridiculously curious as a bargain to offer God. Especially for an atheist who didn’t believe OR go to church!
Guess what happened? Two days later, Bob and Janice were holding their new son. Swaddled in their own little Christmas miracle. Christmastime would never be the same for them again. Nor would their lives, because as Bob the Atheist followed through on his bizarre promise, something stirred within. Something was changing. Suddenly a NEW Newborn Child took a front-and-center view in his life. One baby led him to The Baby. A Monte Carlo led him to a Manger…which led him to the Messiah who would change his life. Swaddled in his and his wife’s tragic losses was a dramatic re-birth waiting to be realized. To be re-born from hopelessness into eternal Hope.
Swaddled. Held tightly. Wrapped in love.
Today, 39 years later, that atheist has been a follower-of Jesus and a pastor for 35+ years. His son has, too, for almost two decades now.
Thank you, Bob and Janice Morlan. I love you, Mom and Dad. I have been swaddled in your love every single day since God brought me to you.