Dear Archer,

You entered our world today, December 18, 2014, and may I just say, you didn’t disappoint!  We fretted a little that we wouldn’t get here in time from Alabama, but like the gentleman you already are, you politely waited for us arrive, then for good measure took a few more hours for everybody to get their bearings.  Then in the fullness of time, you let it be known that you were large (our largest grandbaby yet), loud (probably the loudest, too), and in charge!

Other babies have been born on this day, but only you can claim to have a sister who’s the Sasster.  In a world of brothers and all-boy cousins, she’s the only girl, and I think she sorta likes it that way.  I know she loves being your big sister.  “He’s just adorable,” she said when she saw you for the first time.  And no, I don’t know how a first grader knows the word “adorable,” but she can probably also spell it, parse it, and say it in German, Spanish and Swahili.

You’ll learn the ropes from your brothers Shepherd and Fischer soon enough.  And yes, that frightens me just a bit.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

You were born into a world that is at once festive and frightening.  Homes and stores everywhere are decorated for Christmas, but many of them won’t admit that they’re decorated for Christmas because, well, ever since the days of Herod the world has been offended by Christmas – the real one, that is – so they’ve tried to sanitize it with something called The Holidays.

Happy Holidays, Archer.

Yeah, doesn’t do much for me, either.

Anyway, I hate to tell you, but you won’t be able to check out that movie you were wanting to see called “The Interview” because somebody got really hacked about it and hacked the filmmakers and threatened to hack the moviegoers, so the filmmakers just hacked the movie.  Sorry, little dude.  But I think I can get you to a seven-hundred-and-thirteenth showing of a “Frozen” singalong if you’re interested.

The good news is that you may well be my first grandbaby who grows up without an embargo against the island nation of Cuba in your lifetime.  That may be cause for a victory cigar or something.

Your name was carefully chosen, as all your family names have been, and it comes with special meaning and based on a rich heritage.  Your first name reflects the bowman warrior, skilled and powerful, and able to fight both up close and at a distance for the things that matter.  Your middle name, Leigh, means “healer.”  It is the name of your great grandfather, who himself has been a lifelong healer, first of human hearts through the gospel of Jesus Christ, then of human bodies as a physician.  It is also the middle name of your Grammy, who has devoted her career to being a healer of broken lives.

We should probably have a talk about her.  A few things you need to know…

Her love language is giving gifts.  I think you’ll be pleased.

She loves largely and loudly.  I think you’ll be pleased.

She loves Disney.  I think you’ll be pleased.

More than all that, she loves Jesus, and will love you.  Completely.  Insanely.  Picture-on-the-iPhone-Facebook-fool-for-you-head-over-heels.

I think you’ll be pleased.

As a carrier of the banner, Healing Warrior, you stand in a noble heritage of men and women who have built their lives around a truth worth dying for and a love worth living. They are doctors, nurses, builders, missionaries, pastors, educators, and counselors.  They are volunteers, deacons, servants, citizens, and Sunday School teachers.  They have a vision as grand as the world, but roots that run deep in the plains of West Texas or the woods and coastlands of Alabama. You will find great strength in their faith.  Their hope.  Their love.  You would be wise to draw deeply, long and often, from them.

I welcome you to a world that feels less and less like home to me, but more and more like hope for what matters most.  Where I have fewer and fewer people to impress, but more and more people to love and serve.  And on this day, when the attention turns to those who matter most, and who are there to love and serve, my attention turns to you.

Over your lifetime, I pray that you experience just enough pain to know the depths of the healing power of God… and just enough defeat to know the victory that overcomes the world – namely your faith.  And out of both, I pray you become just the right combination of tough and tender.  Tough on yourself, and tender with others… with high standards for yourself, and grace for everybody else.

And what you can expect from your Grammy and me is a whole lot of love.  Regardless of your victories or defeats, your wins or losses, your scars or your wounds, we will love you.  Completely.  Deeply.  Devotedly.  Joyfully.

So welcome, little Healing Warrior.  I am beyond grateful that you are here.

Now let’s have some fun.

Martha Orlando December 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

Congratulations, Andy and Robin and family! Archer is perfect and you are blessed (but you know that already)! Could there be a better Christmas gift? I don’t think so. 🙂
Enjoy your grandson!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Christ is All We Have

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