Today, our son would have turned two years old. Our souls ache as we wonder what it would be like if he were still here. At the same time, we remember the joy he brought us with his brief life.

So every year on his birthday, we do something that allows us to both celebrate his life and grieve his loss: we sing.

We repeat the songs that we used to sing to him when he was with us. We sing songs of lament and songs of praise. There are lyrics that question God and others that cling to his promises. Some seize us with weeping as we continue to hurt without Eli here. Others make us laugh as they remind us of precious memories of our baby boy.

Each verse and chorus are saturated with both joy and sorrow, colliding to create a medley of heartache and hope.

This annual anthem proclaims the tension that we live in until Jesus makes all things new. Death can be deafening, but the day is coming when it will finally be silenced. So as we wait for the dawn, we sing in the darkness.

“Those who sow with tears,
will reap with songs of joy.”

Happy birthday, Eli. I love you forever, son.