Summary: What are we born to and can that be changed?
New babies are always exciting. We’ve recently had an addition to the Fisher clan, when Elizabeth gave birth to Thomas Skudder about 12 weeks ago. After a very short time we were telling the world, anyone who would listen, that we have a new grandson. Of course he’d been expected for a while, and we’d been telling people about his coming.
After his birth ...
All the details – big, weight etc
After all this we naturally begin to see who he looks like – that changes quite quickly – after the first weeks we could clearly see Ray (his dad) in him.
Babies are a blank canvas – they could develop into anyone – a genius, a hero, a talented sportsman, an A-list celebrity, the speculation begins almost immediately. Of course some things are more likely than others – it depends a lot on the inherited traits from the father and mother, and also how the child is bought up.
Born to …
In the case of some babies we already know what they will be when they grow up. Their destiny is set for them. Prince George, for example, will one day be king, just like his father Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his grandfather Charles, Prince of Wales.
Each of their births was greeted with a huge amount of publicity so that we all knew that the succession was secure.
As Shakespeare said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Most of us though will not do anything in our lives that the world will find remarkable. Our destiny is to be average and unremarkable. I doubt any one will write my biography when I’m gone, it just wouldn’t be that interesting. Perhaps they’d call it Born to be average.
Many, of course, are born into poverty and their destiny is to stay that way for their entire lives.
This baby though is a different prospect altogether, but His parents are just as excited by His birth as any other parents. So much so that His father has been going on about it for thousands of years. We heard just one of the prophecies in the Old Testament reading, then there is the announcement. An angel lighting up the sky, telling the shepherds “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”. Then a whole host of angels appear praising God and telling the shepherds what good news it is.
So much has had to be arranged – a census to force his earthly mother to visit the right town is perhaps the simplest. Look in the previous chapter and you will find the story of Elizabeth and birth of John the Baptiser, all timed to perfection. Look in Matthew and you will read about the star put up to guide the Magi to visit the child. If you want to know how God works in His world read through the accounts of Jesus birth and see how all the pieces fitted together – that was not luck, or coincidence – that was God’s careful planning.
What’s it all for?
All this is because the birth is not only the most important birth in history, but also because it is the Son of God, born as a man. This was recognised by the prophet Simeon in the temple when the baby Jesus was taken there for the purification rites as required by the Law of Moses. Simeon said “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Jesus destiny, or at least part of it, is clear right from the start.
All of us, Jesus included, share one destiny. I remember sitting in a training class a long time ago, and the trainer asked “What MUST you do?” We thought about it for a bit. “Pay Taxes” someone said. “No” she replied, there are consequences to not paying taxes, but it’s your choice.”
Breath was the next idea, but that too is a choice albeit a much more difficult one. The only thing we must do is die. We are all born to die – that cannot be avoided.
Everything else though is optional.
Cannot avoid sinning?
That was a clip from “A knight’s Tale” where William asks “Can it be done father, can a man change the stars?” His father replies “Yes William, if a man believes enough he can do anything?”