Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birth Announcements Facebook style

Shelly with one of her new niecesThis has turned out to be a truly beautiful and joyful Advent season. As we spend time in prayer, preparing our hearts and souls for the arrival of the Christ Child, friends and family around me have prepared to welcome and given birth to their own babies. Though we are still “waiting” for Jesus, there is no more beautiful reminder of the promise of His redemption than in the warm, fragrant, gentleness of holding a newborn child.

Within the past three weeks I have welcomed Parker, Anthony, Paige, and Henry, observing closely the new way that we, as a society, communicate with each other socially. News of their impending arrival began with a phone call or text message followed closely by a Facebook message.
• Waiting patiently for Parker's arrival! Epidurals are the greatest thing ever invented!!

• Please keep my sister and my nephew to be in your prayers. It looks like he is going to be born today.

• BIG day today!

• Today will be Henry's birthday...my water broke at midnight :)
Immediately friends and family rush online to offer instant words of prayer, support, and congratulations. In some cases, family members continued posting updates on labor and delivery, until finally an official announcement is posted:
• Parker Grace is here! 4:24pm, 8.5lbs, 20.5in and sleeping soundly in daddy's arms.

• Thanks to everyone for all the prayers. Little Anthony Joseph made his debut yesterday just after 1pm. He is 4 lbs 2 oz and 18.5 inches.

• Paige Caroline born at 12:26 today. 7 lb 3 oz and just perfect!

• HENRY IS BORN!!! 6LBS 15OUNCES; 20 INCHES!!! HE'S BEAUTIFUL

Photos of the newborn and proud parents follow throughout the day, often posted by family and friends. In my daughter’s baby book is a piece of notebook paper with several phone numbers of family and friends. This served as my “call list” to reach several people after my daughter was born. I distinctly remember using the bedside telephone at the hospital to call the people on this list. Though I was exhausted, I still remember some of the conversations and all of the emotions expressed. I don’t remember whether we even owned a mobile phone at that time.

We couldn’t share photos until after we’d gone home, developed the film, scan the images, and upload them to our AOL website. My father had one of those new digital cameras, but we had to wait for him to download and burn a CD for us, since email size limitations wouldn’t allow him to send more than one photo at a time.

Now, a decade later, social media enables us to share our lives with family and friends instantly. Though we may not be close geographically, we are able to be a part of each other’s lives, until we can come together personally. While sharing online may not have quite the same personal connection, we know we are not alone in our busy lives - we are connected to one other, caring about one another, in ways that transcend our physical location.
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