Monday, December 22, 2008
A Baby Changes Everything
In the quiet of night, a young mother holds her baby to her, admiring his fingers and toes, exploring the features of his face. Her son is new to this world, a gift from God. She is like every other new mother, filled with wonder and exhaustion and, perhaps, fear. She is very young. Is she up to this awesome task that God has seen fit to entrust to her? After all, this is no ordinary child. His birth was foretold by the prophets. An angel came to tell her he was coming! She replays the vision in her memory. It was just an ordinary day when the angel came with his divine message. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son . . . He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. (Luke 1:30-32) Fear not? A child? It had been a lot to take in, but she believed, she trusted, she said “yes.” From that moment, nothing would ever be ordinary again.
She had gone to her cousin Elizabeth to help her with her own miraculous birth. She had returned home to begin her life with her husband, Joseph. Then, heavy with child, she had to travel to Bethlehem. Now, she had just given birth among the animals, far from her family and friends. This really wasn't what she had in mind. Yet, she is thankful. The innkeeper was kind to let them stay here. They are safe, they are warm, and all went well with the birth. She smiles at her child. He is perfect, so perfect. If only her mother could be here to see him. He is the One her people have waiting for: The Savior, the Messiah, the Promised One. These are such big names for such a tiny baby, her baby who sleeps so peacefully in her arms. My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. (Luke 1:46-47).
Who are these strangers who have come to visit? Joseph is talking to them, inviting them in. He whispers to her, “The angels told them.” She nods. This baby is special. The secret that few had known is secret no more. She resists the urge to hold him tighter, keep him to herself. He is not just her baby. He belongs to the world. She lays him in the manger so that they can take a closer look. They tell her about the angels, too. The light was so bright!There were so many! The whole of heaven was rejoicing!Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:14) The shepherds stay for a little while, and then they return to their fields. She can hear them praising God as they leave. Joseph looks kindly at her, then lays down to get some rest. She should rest, too. It has been quite a day! But, her mind will not quiet down. There is so much to think about.
She checks on the baby again, makes sure that he is warm and dry. She remembers the shepherds looking at him. They had such reverence in their eyes. They knew that they were beholding a miracle. Yes, a miracle, a miracle entrusted to her care. She thought of the future, of all the things that he would need to learn. Yes, there was so much to think about. That young girl who had been living a quiet life before the angel came no longer existed. She was a mother now, the mother of the Savior. All ages will call me blessed. (Luke 1:48) Why did God choose her, out of all the girls in all the world during all the ages? Why her, a simple, poor girl? Why did the savior come as a baby? He could have just appeared in glory. Why come in such impoverished conditions? It didn't make much sense to her, but she knew that God must have his reasons. She would continue to trust, to hope, to believe. She would continue to say “Yes” wherever the road would lead. This baby would not only change her life. He would change the world. She is tired. She closes her eyes and dreams of the future. Yes, this baby would change everything.