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The Miracle of Birth  

On January 31, around 7:00 pm, my daughter-in-law felt the beginning of labor pains.  My wife, who is a licensed midwife here in British Columbia, quietly sprang into action, making preparations for the birth.  For the past several months, the plan was for Shannon to give birth in our bedroom, for more space. 

It was very exciting as Shannon’s birth pangs increased in intensity and many family members gathered to wait and offer support.  My 2-year old granddaughter, Azélia, sat with my two daughters, along with several other women, mostly Parks. 

Around midnight, I went to sleep in my downstairs office for a few hours, intermittently being woken to the sound of groaning from upstairs.  At 2:30 am, I heard the sounds of pain turn to bursts of laughter.  I thought, “This is a good sign!”  So I went upstairs and heard the good news that Zebedee Park was now among us! 

What a miracle to see little Zebedee: a perfectly formed baby boy, wide-eyed and calmly looking around the room.  Holding him to my chest, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s gift to our family.  There were complications with Shannon’s first birth, so this fast and healthy delivery was especially sweet. 

I have a grandson!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’m around a newborn—I’m in awe every time.  Having a granddaughter was amazing, now our joy is doubled.  Looking around the room at my daughters and daughters-in-law, I thought about the grandbabies in our future…with eight of our own children, I wonder what the final tally will eventually be?! 

God keeps giving us blessings we don’t deserve and haven’t earned: that’s his grace.  At times like this, I think about what is most important in life:  loving the people that are close to me.  The busy-ness of life is briefly suspended as we gather to cherish the precious moment of a new birth.

Touch Heaven Everyday            

I can remember sitting in my room of the fraternity at UCLA as a college freshman.  I was a new Christian.  I was reading the Bible and it was like someone was sitting there talking to me.  Up until then, my ‘story’ consisted of loving sports, playing guitar and being a good student so I could eventually get a good job.  Then I became part of God’s story.  The adventure was just beginning and it was exciting. 

I grew up playing the guitar as recreation.  Then it became truly re-creational.  The creative Holy Spirit was renewing me through the creative act of making music.  It was like going from black and white to full-color with surround-sound.  A fourth dimension opened up.  As I kid, I only wanted to play guitar.  I wasn’t interested in singing.   Then music became a vehicle for expressing adoration and being with a Person.  I finally had a reason to sing.  I was singing to a person.  Through the gift of music, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart to see Jesus (John 15:26). The worship-life is all about knowing a Person. 

My wife Linda describes her conversion: “Meeting Jesus was like coming to life; I was dead then I was alive; I was totally blind and not aware of being blind and suddenly I could see.  Like a baby being born, moving from one world into another.  I love singing about this transformation.” 

In a sense, every time we worship God, we are re-living our conversion experience.  We don’t always have a great epiphany, but when we reach for God’s kingdom that is near us, we touch heaven.  For this reason, I try to worship through music at least a little bit everyday.  I often don’t feel like doing it, but when I worship, I am always refreshed, even if only gently.  I need to touch heaven everyday.