Summary: First of a four part series looking at the birth of Christ through different eyes.
I think that if you talk to any married couple with children...they will tell you that when their kids came along that there were some major changes in their lives. Some of us are getting ready to find that out for the very first time and others are getting ready to be reminded....and I have to tell you that the changes are well worth it. To tell you the truth I often have trouble remembering Anne and I’s life before Suzy came along. We were walking through Wal-Mart about a year after she was born and Suzy was sitting there in the cart and one of us asked the question...what did we do before she came along? What was our life like...and we had a hard time remembering specifics. We were able to go a lot of different places on the spur of the moment...it was a lot easier to take those weekend trips....but beyond that we could not remember a whole lot about our lives.
But we have no trouble thinking about our current life. We have no problems remembering the sleepless nights...the first colds...the first ear infections....the times when are budget was stretched to the breaking point...in fact..those times are a pretty recent memory! But the changes...they were well worth it.
The really funny thing is, though, these changes....they weren’t that far reaching. When our daughter was born...there were very few people who were directly affected by her arrival. Outside of us there were only her grandparents and some close family and friends....other than that there was very little change in anybody’s life. When she woke up crying in the middle of the night because she was hungry...the neighbors didn’t get up to feed her. Come to think of it...I didn’t get up for lack of the necessary equipment to take care of the problem! When Anne went back to work...it was her father and I that took care of Suzy during the day...not the people down the street. When she got sick...when she needed changing...more often than not it was a select group of people who were affected.
It wasn’t just the negative things, though, that only a select few got....the blessings were not for everyone as well. The hugs, smiles, kisses...only a few of us got to experience them. Very rarely does a child come along that affects more than a few people.
Bret Harte tells a story about a child that changed the lives of many people in a story set in the Wild West, called “The Luck of Roaring Camp.” Roaring Camp was the meanest, toughest Mining Town in the entire 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.