To Have and To Hold
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Family is a gift.
As we come into the holiday season we think of gifts we want to receive and of ones we want to give to those we love. The greatest gift in life, however, is finding the one person to whom you can give your life. Great families are built upon the commitment made between two people to embark on life together—no matter what comes their way.
This past spring my wife and I experienced the joy of seeing our daughter marry a wonderful young man. On that day, I had the honor of giving her away. Family begins with the gift of being given away; it is preserved through time by the continual giving of ourselves to each other, in the love we professed on that day.
Below is what I said on my daughter’s wedding day. Hopefully it will make you remember that family begins with a gift.
Bryan, today I am granting your request of me and giving my daughter to you in marriage. But before I do, you need to know that she is more than just my daughter—she is my joy and the greatest treasure I will ever be able to give away to anyone. I’m a father of three sons but only one daughter. I have no one else to give away, and she is, and will always be, my ‘only baby girl.’
A man’s sons are the symbols and the carriers of their father’s strength and honor and the source of their parent’s pride, but daughters have their father’s heart.
Today I am giving you more than my daughter—I am placing into your trust, my heart and the joy of my life. She believes you’re the man the universe has given to her to fulfill the dream she’s carried in her heart—and kept herself for—until this day.
If you’re blessed with a daughter, you will one day stand in my shoes—with your heart in your hand—and with another man asking you to place your heart in his hands…to have and to hold. You will feel the same joy and the intimidation of releasing your heart into another man’s hands.
Before I could give you my heart, my joy and my one and only baby girl, to be yours for the rest of your life, I want you to know that I believe she has chosen wisely and has found a man who her mother and I can trust to carry our heart—one who will protect our joy with his whole heart and with all that is in him. It is my honor, on behalf of her mother, to give our daughter away to you.
Treasure the gift of your family this holiday season.
Don Pritchard is the pastor at Solid Rock Faith Center in Diamond Springs.