“When are you due?

“Christmas Day.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

That’s how almost every conversation would go.  When someone heard I was due Christmas day they inevitable said how sorry they were for me.  Then, usually a story would come, about their cousin Jake or Aunt Martha who had a Christmas birthday and hated it. They’d finish by giving me tips on how to make sure all the presents didn’t get blurred together. (By all means use different kinds of wrapping paper!) I usually waited quietly until they were done then simply responded, “I’m actually glad I have that due date.”

And it’s true. I was glad. And, I’ll admit, I prayed that God would let Dutch be born on December 21st so that I’d have a day or two at home before my whole family came over for Christmas. On the 19th my doctor checked me: “No progress at all. This baby isn’t coming anytime soon.”  The 20th my water broke, and sure enough, on December 21st we welcomed Dutch William Patterson into our world.

We’ve never been the same since.

The weeks of Advent 2006 broke me in two. I’d never before identified so much with Mary. With the emotions, the waiting, the anticipation, the tears.  Even though my soon-born son was not the Son of God, I still had a strong sense that my Christmas son was special, destined, called for something great.

I still believe he is. 

He came on the very day I’d asked my gracious Father for. He came with a spirit stronger than any I’d ever known — certainly stronger than my own. He broke me, brought me to my knees, made me weep and made me melt.  And strangely, the nearness of his birthday to Christ’s only reminds me, every single year, of the nearness of my boy to the Father’s Heart.

I know He has plans for my son. 

Every mother knows this, does she not? As Mary pondered the angel’s words and treasured them in her heart, so every mother sees glimpses of and hears from God the destiny on her child’s life, and she believes God for that destiny. Trains Him for that destiny. Pours out her soul, her life, so that that child will be raised as an arrow in the hands of our God.

Isn’t that what mothering is?

I have never cried over any boy as much as I’ve cried over Dutch. God has used this man-child to expose my areas of weakness, of insecurity, of people-pleasing. He’s toughened me, strengthened me, pounded into my mind and heart what  must be done to love, train, and disciple this boy. He’s sharp and he’s strong — an arrow that must be pointed in the right direction.

{And today, Dutch, on your 5th birthday, I want to celebrate how I already see you growing into the man-child God wants you to be.  I see how you yield, how you give to your sister, how you’re sensitive to the things of God, how you think, question, wonder. I see how you intentionally skip over the “yucky” pages in your Star Wars book. I see how you told me we shouldn’t watch a certain kids’ movie anymore because it had magic and spells in it. I see tremendous evidence of the work of the Spirit in your life, my son, and it makes my heart soar.

I see how you’re brave, and I also see how you’re tender, I see how you wobble-walk, wanting to be a courageous man (a Jedi Master!) but also wanting me to snuggle you under the covers when you’re cold.  I see you slaying storm-troopers but wanting me, sometimes, to carry you up the stairs.

That’s just right. I think you’re right on track. 

I’m so glad you were born near Christmas.  There will always be something special about your birth … and about you.}

I cannot imagine all that Mary felt. But I know what it’s like to swell in late December and birth with tears of joy. What it’s like to wonder a little at the special creation that lies in our arms and weep, knowing there’s a weightiness about our boy.

We all who raise a child know this, yes? Bless you, fellow-parent, who cry with the joy-sorrow of raising a man or woman of God. I pray for strength for us all to persevere! And how great is the gift of grace that was given to us in the birth of that baby boy — Jesus Christ, Emmanuel …

God with us.

{Happy birthday, Dutch. And thank you all for reading.}

(A few pics for family reminiscing…)




























  • Oh goodness me, I am starting the day with tears. Happy Birthday, Dutch! How could you possibly be 5 already???

  • Angela

    Happy Birthday Dutch, Kari what a beautiful story of Dutch’s birth. Love you blogs, Have a very Blessed Merry Christmas.

  • Danielle

    Beautiful, my friend! So thankful to be raising our boys side by side. Happy Birthday, Dutch!!

  • Happy Birthday, Dutch! 🙂

  • mom

    As I read this with tears in my eyes.. Happy Birthday Dutch and you will never know the love that Oma and I have for you untill you have a child of your own… We love you soooooo much… Papa

  • mom

    Like your Papa wrote above,
    we love yu more than we can express. Unforgetable: Dec. 21 After receiving a call from Jeff (” Get here now!”,) A quick dash to hospital, nearing Kari’s room, escorted by a silent nurse who opened the door peeked in and stepped back to allow us to enter “grandparent hood”. THe nurse holding Dutch ‘ showed us and then continued to wipe down our brand new and first grandson. Life will never be the sane. Thank you, Dutch, for sharing your little–boy-life and lavish love with us. Haooy Birthday !! Love. Oma

  • Amen, Mom!! Love this — my favorite part: “life will never be the sane.” It’s true, we are most certainly all insane now that Dutch is in our lives! 🙂

  • Thank you, Lacey!!

  • Amen, Danielle! Those boys of ours are precious!

  • Such a sweet post!!

  • Debra

    Oh dear one. Sweet mother. Thank you for sharing this tender story of your days leading to the birth of man-child . Jedi, pirate, sweet cuddly boy. Man-child seeking God because you and Jeff have given yourselves as living sacrifices.

    “Among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
    “Christ is the Light in the world and good Christians are lights in the world.  When God raises up a good man in any place, He sets up a light in that place.”
    Matthew Henry.

  • Janie

    Dutch, I am stronger, better for having you in my life…as grandson, gift. This has been a glorious day with you and family. Kari, thank you for your writing that captures these tender times. All of our lives have been changed by Dutch. Momma

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