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I heard a story that illustrates this point in an interesting way. An author named Bret Harte wrote a story about the Wild West, called “The Luck of Roaring Camp.” Roaring Camp was the meanest, toughest Mining Town in all the West. There were more murders and thefts than any other place around. Roaring Camp was inhabited entirely by men … except for one woman who made her living in the only way she knew how. Her name was Cherokee Sal.

Eventually, Cherokee Sal became pregnant and gave birth to baby. She died in childbirth, and no one knew who the father might be. The men put the baby girl in a box with some old rags under her. Somehow that just didn’t seem right, so one of the men rode 80 miles to buy a Rosewood Cradle. When they put the rags and the baby in the beautiful new cradle, the rags just didn’t look right. So another man rode to Sacramento and purchased some silk and lacy blankets. They men lined the Rosewood Cradle with silk and tucked the new blanket around the little baby girl. But then someone noticed that the floor under the cradle looked dirty.

The next thing you knew, a few of those big, tough men got down on their hands and knees and scrubbed the floor until it was spotless. Of course, then the walls and the ceiling … and the dirty windows looked awful. So they washed down the walls and the ceiling, and they even hung some clean white curtains on the windows.

Things were beginning to look a lot better. But they soon realized they had to give up their carousing and fighting. After all, the baby needed a lot of sleep, and babies can’t sleep during a brawl. Besides all that, the baby didn’t like angry voices or frowning faces. So the men started smiling and talking in pleasant, cheerful tones. And, since babies shouldn’t be left alone, they set the cradle by the entrance of the Mine and one of the men stayed next to her while the others worked.

Then somebody noticed how ugly the mine entrance was. So they planted some flowers and made a small garden near the cradle. And as they worked, the men looked for shiny little stones that they could show to the baby and watch her gurgle and coo. But when they held the stones down near her, they saw that their hands looked black and dirty. And they didn’t want to scare the little baby with their scraggly hair and wild beards. Pretty soon the general store sold out of soap and shaving gear.

The baby changed everything. And that story gives a small picture of the way the Son of God can transform our lives. Has the Bethlehem Baby changed your life?

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