In the early hours of last Wednesday morning, our beautiful baby boy, Josiah Hanson Gill, was born prematurely. We were able to hold him in this world for about half an hour, before God took him back to be with him. During that time we talked to him, prayed over him, and watched him raise his head, move his little lips, and his perfect hands. Today my heart is broken in more ways than I even knew was possible. But because of faith in the goodness of God, and hope in his covenant promises, we know that we will hold him again. He is safe in the caring arms of Jesus, the same arms that comfort us now.
We don’t understand why this happened, and why God did not answer our prayers in the way we wanted. But there have been so many ways that God has shown me his mercy over the last few days. I am so thankful that I have Julie, and that we can support each other through this. She gave birth so bravely, and in those few precious moments we had with him, she gave him a lifetimes worth of love. I’m thankful for our 1 year old daughter, who’s smiles and giggles have done so much to help us. I am thankful for the prayers of family, friends, and churches from all over this Island.
But I’ve also been thinking how thankful I am that it is Christmas time. People have been saying that it must be so hard to have this happen at this time of year. And of course, it is. There are hundreds of reminders of what we have lost, and of what we will never have. But there are also thousands of reminders of the hope we have.
If I had been preaching on Sunday, I would have read from Isaiah 9 which begins by saying, “they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined”. This is what we have experienced. Even though we have been dragged deep into the pit of sorrow, and are surrounded by all the awful feelings and thoughts that come with grief, even here, the light of Christ’s peace and joy has shone on us.
On Saturday we had a small thanksgiving service for Josiah’s life. One of the songs we sang was ‘Away in a Manger’
Bless all the dear children
In Your tender care
And fit us for heaven
To live with You there