For months I could feel him kicking inside me, ever determined from the womb. His due date, Rosh Hashanah, was drawing closer. The waiting was challenging, marked by periods of false labor that kept me awake, uncomfortable and ever alert for the real thing; rumblings of what was to come. I waited as patiently as I could: I cleaned my house, taking down light fixtures and blinds, vacuuming baseboards, rearranging the cupboards. We took long walks, and I balanced one foot on the curb and the other on the pavement, trying to help him come down. The crux of the waiting was the newness of every sensation; not knowing exactly what to expect, not knowing what the true pangs of labor would be like with my first child.
At our baby blessing, the prophecies people shared about him were compelling; he was to be a strong warrior of God, a truth-speaker, unafraid of challenges in order to rise to his calling to bring truth to his generation. In amazement I listened as they shared separately, words they didn’t prepare in advance together, but words that were woven together, forming a seamless tapestry of truth. Surely it was the work of the Holy Spirit.
We took the responsibility of choosing a name for this child very seriously. It had to have meaning, weightiness to shoulder the calling of his life. One kept returning to our minds that summer, a name we had seen on the cover of a book. It was an old Hebrew name that meant “to sing or shout.” To us, it represented the calling on his life to be a proclaimer of truth in a dark world.
And so when he was born, after rumblings for days, on the night before Rosh Hashanah, we named him Jaron. This boy, we knew, would proclaim Christ to his generation. He would bring hope to a dark world. He would be a strong voice in the midst of chaos.
My husband’s parents came to share a meal with us for his first “birthday” celebration; a special Shabbat with a sweet apple pie to look forward to a sweet year. I asked Nathan to read the prescribed Scriptures for the first night of Rosh Hashanah from our Complete Jewish Bible, a translation of the Bible that honors its Hebrew roots and gives us a broader understanding of the context in which it was written. In the back of this fairly old book there are torah portions to be read on appointed days, which we had never followed before. But tonight, it seemed like the right thing to do.
To our amazement, the scriptures chosen were all the familiar passages that relate to the birth of a chosen child. First, the birth of Isaac recounted in Genesis 21. Next, the story of Hannah’s prayer for a child and God’s fulfillment to her in 1 Samuel 1 and 2.
With tears in our eyes we celebrated the hope God gave us in the form of a strong, determined little boy. As the world seems to crumble around us, we know that in the next generation he is raising up warriors — we have seen the same strong spirit in the babies being born to our friends and family, as though God is building his army.
The story of Jaron’s birth will always make Rosh Hashanah a special time in our lives. As we prepare to celebrate our son’s first birthday, we are reflecting on the power of God and how his ways are accomplished in justice and truth. Our trust has been bolstered in the past year by what we have seen God do, and now we join with the believers to proclaim him Lord over all the Earth.