“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him” (1 John 4:10 – The Message)
Back in the dark ages before marriage and the birth of my children, life pretty much went my way. Do what I want, when I want, and most of the time, how I want. With money in my pocket a smooth ride and a different girl accepting my invitation for a date every weekend, life was grand. My usual itinerary on weekends was taking my lady of choice out to eat at a nice restaurant, followed by a movie or concert, then cruising Buckner Boulevard for a few hours – gas was cheap, and girls were plentiful. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the one catching the girls; it was the car. The only thing I seemed to catch was the tab, but that was okay, I just chalked it up to the cost of playing the game.
One day a good looking young woman appearing about my age walked into the store I managed asking for an employment application. Since the weekend would be rolling around in a few days and I hadn’t scored a date yet, the application process was a mere formality required by the company. Finding a way to include my brand new 1971, canary yellow, Plymouth Road Runner (Hemi under the hood) in this impromptu interview went well. Along with a small hint about not knowing who I was going to take to the Three Dog Night/Rod Stewart concert at the Cotton Bowl, she accepted my offer and started work the next day. A few months later wedding bells rang.
Married a little over a year, it was around 10:00 in the morning when I got the call; March 17, 1975. I had a different job working for Borden’s Milk as a delivery man then, and my wife was on her way to Methodist Hospital of Dallas in labor. Not having finished the route, the company sent two men to my location, one to take my place, the other to get me to my car so I could get to the hospital. As you might suspect, I made a mad dash across town but when I arrived she was already in delivery. All I could do was drink coffee and pace the floors.
What seemed an eternity in waiting was only about an hour or so when the doctor came through the waiting room door with the news of Mandy arriving safe and sound and her mother doing well. Honestly, though, when I first saw my newborn daughter, she looked
to me like a shriveled up prune with fiery red hair. I know I will wind up in the doghouse for saying this, but truth is; I have never thought newborns are cute; and my precious, darling, lovable and cuddly, baby girl I knick named Carrot Top, well, she was a classic example why.
That March day life took on a new look. Two became three and when it did everything changed. The bedroom had a baby bed in it where once stood a chifferobe. In the closet space where my winter clothes were, frilly little dresses hung. A diaper pail had replaced the clothes hamper in the bathroom. The coffee table I propped my feet on gave way to a playpen. Big Bird showed up in my video tape library kicking out John Wayne (Clint Eastwood too), and half-dozen baby bottles preempted the spot my cans of Coca-Cola used to have in the fridge; I assure you, when a baby is born, everything changes.
It was around 4 or 5 BC in Israel, most likely Spring or Autumn actually, not December. Much was going on in the world. Had there been a New York Times landing on your doorstep, Rome would have been the headline maker and the lead story on the nightly news. Social and political unrest was at an all-time high, and with the taxation of all living souls within the Roman Empire, Tiberius Caesar’s decree that a census be taken was on everyone’s mind; a baby born in a small Judean village certainly wasn’t the coffee shop buzz around town.
Given world affairs at the time. So insignificant was the birth of Jesus that a stable became the savior’s birthplace; a feed trough (not a crib), his bed; and an otherworldly appearance by celestial beings in the night sky to prompt a few lowly shepherds to celebrate the birth with his parents. What possible difference would it make anyway? Would anything at all change?
A quick check of the historical record says, Yes! Everything would change. In but a moments time the course of human affairs took a new direction, the history of the world was overhauled, reshaped and transformed.
Transcending the way things were done in ancient times, Jesus’ concern for those who suffer paved the way for the establishment of institutions caring for lepers, which led to modern-day hospitals – A baby changes everything.
It was the early Christian church that ultimately brought an end to infanticide, which was not only legal but also applauded in Roman and Grecian culture – A baby changes everything.
The first legislation to publicly fund education in the colonies was called, “The Old Deluder Satan Act (1642)”, under the notion that God does not want any child ignorant – A baby changes everything.
Although contested by some historians, America was born in the pursuit of religious freedom and is reflected in the framing of the Constitution. Has the United States had a global impact? Is the world we live in a better place because of an American influence? Yes, absolutely. Why? A baby changes everything.
In the whole of human history no one person, place or thing has impacted the world as has Jesus Christ of Nazareth. His thumbprint is in every area of life, and his reflection seen in every act of kindness shown, every good deed performed and every positive change made – A baby changes everything.
Leo Tolstoy said, “For thirty-five years of my life I was, in the proper acceptation of the word, nihilist, a man who believed in nothing. Five years ago my faith came to me. I believed in the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and my whole life underwent a sudden transformation. Life and death ceased to be evil. Instead of despair, I tasted joy and happiness that death could not take away.” A Baby Changes EVERYTHING.
Six Surprising Ways Jesus Changed The World” Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-ortberg/six-surprising-ways-
“The Impact of Christianity” Faith Facts: http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/the-impact-of-christianity#education
“What If Jesus had Never Been Born” by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, Nelson Books (1994).