On this day five years ago, I was laboring to give birth to my son, Ephraim.

Ephraim

Ephraim

It was a three day event. I birthed him at home. It was wonderful and painful. It was probably the closest I will ever get to understanding real pain. It was excrutiating.

It was painful because it was a long, slow labor. It was painful because it had been only a little over nine months since Joy had gone back to God.

Life and death had been my companions for that nine months.

And here, at the end, it was so very, very hard.

When he was born, the cord was wrapped around him four times. His hand was wrapped, too.

He didn’t breathe at first. But, then God was there, breathing into my son the breath of life.

And then my son was a new soul, shouting to the world that he was here and life goes on.

And it was so stabbingly joyful to me.

And I was so happy and melancholy and exhilarated and aching.

I was sanctified through water, blood and spirit.

When my son was delivered, so was I.

And I thought about how when we are born, we usually cry. It is an ordeal to get to earth.

And I wondered, as I watched him in the early, early morning hours–those first few hours when everything is…eternal…I wondered if he understood how I felt about Joy. After all, he had just left heaven and maybe he was crying because it was a stabbing joy, to be born and enter mortality.

It means we leave behind heaven for awhile to come here.

Every birth is a miracle. And I suppose, every death is a miracle, too.

Because death is just another beginning and we are delivered, truly delivered from the pains and sorrows of this world.

All because Christ was born and lived perfectly and died perfectly…for us.

There’s a tumult of joy o’er the wonderful birth,
For the virgin’s sweet boy is the Lord of the earth.
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

And we look to the star while the beautiful sing
To the manger of Bethlehem.

We rejoice in the light, and we echo the song
Coming down through the night from the heavenly throng.
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

I love that, especially at Easter, my heart knows this, because sometimes I forget.

But, it’s true. And I want to shout, “Hosanna!” every time I think of the miracle of death–that it is not the end–it is the beginning of an adventure so glorious there are no words.

I promise you, I know it. I have been there for a moment. It is better than you can possibly understand.

It is light.

It is mostly love.

The love is the best part.

I promise. He has delivered us in more ways than we can possibly realize. He loves us far more than we ever understand. And it is so beautiful.

Our Hope and Deliverer promised of old,
For whom we have waited e’er long,
Hath come to redeem us from slavery’s yoke
And deliver His people back home.
Come, Israel, come and see He who shall reign,
In whom we will ever rejoice,
We hear the sound of the glorious refrain
And it echoeth back in our voice:

Hosanna! Hosanna! Thy Savior hath come, O Israel,
And blessed He’ll ever be called!
Hosanna! Hosanna! Sing praises to God,
For our Hope, our Deliv’rer, our All!

Oh, why should we wander as strangers from Thee
And turn from Thy bounteous hand?
Restore and defend us, oh, set us free,
That beside Thee we ever may stand!

He looks, and ten thousands of angels rejoice,
And myriads wait for His word;
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Re-echoes the praise of her Lord:

Hosanna! Hosanna! Thy Savior hath come,
Our Hope, our Salvation, our All! (The Lamb of God)