Forty years ago Christmas Eve was the first time I heard the sound of my favorite Christmas Carol.

She squeaked a cry a few seconds after she was born.  Carol weighed six pounds and she was 17 inches long.  She had come three weeks early on Christmas Eve.  We named her on the way to the hospital, Carol Christa.

From the moment she was born, my Christmas Carol has been a joy.  Today she will spend a few hours celebrating her birthday but this morning will be filled with sermon preparation for her Christmas sermon.  This evening, Christmas preparation will absorb her.

As normal, by the afternoon, she will be drained of all the energy and vitality that punctuates her life.  But after a good night’s rest and she’ll be up at 4AM for time alone, to write and seek the Lord.

Her voice is no longer a squeak.  It is strong and resounding.  Her heart is bold and eager to find new avenues of ministry and delight.  As a wife and mother, she extends a gentle touch that I never possessed.  She is a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and author of two books, Tribal Church and Reframing Hope.  Rev. Merritt blogs at Christian Century.

Happy Birthday, Christmas Carol.  You have blessed me your whole life.

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