After several passes at reading the Christmas story in Luke I was struck with some thoughts as it relates to how God uses babies (or for some adoptive parents - a child) to change history, our personal story or world history. Often times we speak in terms of history-changers, significant events in history, pivotal points in history, etc. As I see it, inasmuch as God uses people to affect 'his-story', he firsts brings babies onto the scene of our lives and first uses them to alter our- story. Yet nothing else can frighten some and excite others than the words, "you're going to have a baby".
Think about it. Across the generations babies have scared even world leaders. Pharaoh thought he had a security risk in the rising population of Hebrews in his land, his cure...kill all the male babies. Even though a baby can't wield a sword all too well, Pharaoh knew something we forget, a baby becomes an adult, who, armed with ideas they're willing to die for, will threaten even the greatest of empires. At this, God has had enough and raises up another baby, Moses, to change the story and delivers his people from slavery and into God's future.
The Canaanite God Molech (Satan in disguise) was another fascinated with babies - the dead kind. The bible records the treacherous practice of babies being offered up to Molech in fiery ceremonies. And in the Christmas narrative insecure King Herod repeats history after he hears about the possible birth of a competing king and has all the male babies under two years of age in Bethlehem killed. Ah...babies - such a fearsome bunch.
But that's not really the crux of what I've come to understand afresh. Not something I'm against, but something I'm for. God uses people to change his-story, but first he changes your-story with a baby. And unless you allow him to change your-story, its my opinion that he's limited to how much he may change history - just because he lacks the raw material. All the great history-makers such as Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Billy Graham, Abe Lincoln - have one thing in common - they had to be born, someone said yes to them. For thousands of years, God sought to speak to his people through his law, prophets and miracles large and small. And as he knew all along, nothing would touch them like giving them a baby - Jesus - God wrapped in human flesh. When God was left with giving his best, he gave a baby. When there was nothing else to try, he sent a baby.
To a business person a baby is like laying down hard equity - reaching deep and getting invested in the future. To a minister a baby is going for broke with the church plant or back-breaking outreach. To the athlete it's gutting it out, leaving it all on the field. To the gambler, it's betting the family farm. You don't just do parenting as a side job, just like you don't just get a little-bit pregnant, you're in deep and your in for life. Being bare-knuckled-invested like this changes you and leaves you no options but to go the distance. Sounds like an extreme sport to me, not for the faint of heart.
In summary, this leaves me with my founding thought that, a baby changes everything, everything in you, about your story and by God's providence his-story. Our best opportunity to changing history? Become a birthing center for the babies (physical and spiritual) that God wants to bring through your life - then pray hard.
During this same week, Rebecca and I came across this Faith Hill song that sealed these thoughts for me.