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Monday, November 29, 2010


In the summer of 1994, when Sarah first announced to me that we were expecting a child, I was through the roof with excitement. We were not planning to get pregnant at that point and she was a little apprehensive about telling me, not sure how I would respond. I came in from the office and found a shoe box wrapped in gift paper. She watched anxiously as I unwrapped the "gift" and found a baby doll inside the box. I was confused, at first, not sure what to make of it. Then, I lifted my face to see her eyes and I instantly knew. Wow! What a feeling it was...and was again...and again with each new child.

But that first child was something unique, especially when we discovered it would be a boy. There was, for me, a certain pride in carrying on the family name and being blessed with this child. I could not wait.

There was one thing I had to ponder as I waited. His name. You see, I am Ridley Barron III (actually the fourth in my family with the name but that's a story for another day). I had pretty much decided that I wasn't going to name my son the IV. That is, until the day my dad experienced his first stroke. As I stood by his bedside and realized that my "superman" of a dad was as human as anyone else, I was struck by the "expectation" of many generations--that I would carry on the name and heritage of our family. So, Harrison (our middle name) was born and became the IV.

This all came to mind again as I read the first chapter of Matthew yesterday. I am reading back through the Christmas story in anticipation of the holidays, praying that God will help me to capture it anew.

Can you imagine the story from Joseph's perspective? After the initial shock of being told he would have a child but he wouldn't be the father, Joseph must have thought back to the expectations of many generations. Why else would Matthew feel it necessary to list the family tree as he begins Jesus' story? Thousands of years of anticipation, generations of heritage and prophecy leading to this one child...his child. Think about the pressure he felt those nine months, waiting for the day he would be able to unwrap his gift. But not just his. A gift meant for the whole world...yet given to him and Mary. It's a huge responsibility. A task that no man could handle alone without the presence of God's Spirit. But, he did. And unto us a Savior was born. Joseph named him Jesus. And he would become the answer to generations of expectations--both before and after his birth.

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