By Rabih Hasbany

Every time my church celebrates Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, I automatically think of those who do not have children. I think of them too every time I hear about a family activity or family conference. In fact, in many cases, we organize church activities to suit the parents and children in terms of times, dates, places, and the nature of the activities themselves.

In our Middle Eastern culture, it isn’t long after one gets married that family and friends ask: When will we start calling you mom and dad? Everyone wishes for God to bless  newlyweds with many sons and daughters. For many, having children is deemed a blessing from God, and the absence of offspring means the absence of a blessing.

As a church we are no different in this respect than the societies around us because we are often insensitive in dealing with the childless. This is experienced by many couples who have either been unable to have children or have lost their children. It is also a shared experience of many who are unmarried.

What helped me think about the topic of offspring was the book Redeeming Singleness by Barry N. Danylak, which he shared with me after I published a blogpost Why is the Church Silent About the Gift of Singlehood? It provides a helpful way of thinking biblically about having children and understanding childlessness.

The Old Testament starts with the creation story by establishing a relationship between offspring and blessing. In Genesis 1:28, God commands man and woman to multiply and fill the earth. The imperative immediately follows the blessing of God upon them.