My son Zachary called just a short while ago. Late night calls are usually not good news, but this was a notable exception. It didn't come as any great surprise, but it was the greatest and most exciting sort of news nonetheless. His dear Biblical Bekah now wears a ring on her finger and will become his wife in this Year of Our Lord 2008!
We have anticipated this announcement for a while now, but we did not know at what point it would occur. Zachary recently spoke with Rebekah's father to seek her hand in marriage, and was glad to receive both his blessing and wise counsel. It remained only for the timing to be right, and the evening of New Year's Day was the occasion.
If I have understood the scenario correctly, he took her to Starbucks for a beverage and blueberry coffee cake, and then back to the lovely little duck pond near her home in Houston. My wife has pointed out that Sam proposed to our DoRena by the "lake" at the Seminary in Fort Wayne, which is basically a glorified duck pond in its own right. So there appears to be a trend here. In any event, it was by the duck pond over Starbucks coffee cake that my handsome gentleman of a son asked Rebekah to become his lawfully-wedded wife. She, happily, said "yes!"
My wife took the opportunity to chat with Bekah briefly, also, and to congratulate her on being one lucky girl! She is, at that, for I must say that Zachary is a fine young man, and I know that he will make a very fine and faithful husband to her. He is a lucky man, as well, and he knows it. (I trust that everyone will know that "luck" has nothing to do with it, but the gracious blessing of our God and Father in heaven.) Anyway, as LaRena chatted with Bekah, I was struck by the realization that she would become our daughter-in-law. Yes, of course, that seems patently obvious enough, but sometimes such obvious things still need to hit home. My younger children will have a new big sister (along with their new big brother, Sam, as of May). This is all very fine, as we all love Rebekah dearly, and we are glad to have her join the family.
No one is more glad than Zachary! And his happiness, like the radiant glow of his sister DoRena since she got engaged, brings a joy to my heart that no words could adequately express. Christ be praised!
It seems especially appropriate that Zach and Bekah have become engaged on New Year's Day, which is the Feast of the Name & Circumcision of Jesus. In connection with that Feast of Our Lord, I spent the last few days reflecting on the significance of names and naming. The Father shares His Name with His only-begotten Son from all eternity, by nature and by right; but the Son receives that Name at His circumcision, in the flesh and blood He shares with us, so that we may also be named by God through the adoption of sons. So, too, as members of His Bride, the Church, we receive the Name of our heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus the Christ. Thus do we become the sons of God by grace, in Christ, and members of His family. And it is much the same with my children, though in a different way for my daughter than for my son. I not only named DoRena and Zachary when they were born, but I gave to each of them my own name. I have been their father and their head these many years, and their bearing of my name has been indicative of that.
When DoRena is married to Sam, he will become her husband and her head in my place, and she will receive his name to be her own henceforth. She will not cease to be my daughter, but she will become part of Sam's family, and her name and identity will be defined by him instead of me. So, too, when we are wed to the Lord Jesus, we are taken from the mortal family of Adam & Eve into the divine, eternal family of the Lord, who is our God and Father in Christ.
When Zachary receives Rebekah as his wife, he will likewise become her husband and her head, and he will give to her the name that he received from me. What I have received from my father and given to Zach, he will in turn share with his bride and their children. Here is a profound and holy tradition, a handing over of a name, which is more than just a word or a convenient handle. So does the Father's Name become ours, because His only-begotten Son has sought us out and taken us to be His holy Bride.
Truly, the ways of love and marriage are a great mystery; all the more so because they signify Christ and His Bride, the Church. It seems to me that in no other part of life do God's temporal blessings and eternal promises so intimately coalesce. An excellent wife, who can find her? By the grace of God, evidently, my son Zachary has done so. I am delighted for him, and for his bride-to-be, Rebekah. Those who have any champagne left from New Year's Eve, join me in toasting this couple, and give thanks to the Lord for His grace, mercy and peace upon them.