Bring on the Babies

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias,

Luke 1:5

How has the world changed since the days of Herod, the king of Judaea? If we lived in that day and age we would be hard tasked to draw our water from a well instead of the twist of a faucet, or endure the cold and heat instead of adjusting the thermostat. But our ancestors did not know what they were missing, just as we are unaware of what our descendants will consider intolerable about our own time. It was neither the technological differences nor the geopolitical landscape that marks the real difference between today and the days of Herod, king of Judaea; it was the absence of hope.

Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath” accused Swinburne, but he was a fool, for the world never was darker than before the Messiah came. We so often live without regard to the difference Christ has made in the world that it is difficult to fathom the burden of living without His presence in History. Imagine December 25th without Christmas. That’s what you are taking away from every day of the year if Christ had not redeemed the days and turned every revolution around the sun into the “Year of our Lord.”

The calendar is appropriately divided by the birth of our Lord, and what good news that the pagan past had come to an end. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Paganism, with all of its color and festivities, was itself growing pale the farther it was removed from Eden. Pale and bent and wicked. A great door was swinging shut on that ancient world. But what vistas were revealed as that same door opened on a new era, appropriately called the New Covenant: a time when Atonement sufficient for the sins of the world would be available and the New Adam would guide our feet in the path of peace.

What kind of personages could be sufficient to see our past to the door while ushering in the Age of Grace? Strange a man as he would become, the baby named John was the first. It was foretold that he would turn the hearts of the fathers to their sons and the hearts of their sons to their fathers. An apt prophecy, for the second baby is the Eternal Son coming in the fullness of the Spirit to live in joy under the authority of the Eternal Father. This is the Tri-une love from whence our world sprang and then was lost. But when the hearts of fathers and sons are once again inclined towards each other, earth shall once again reflect heaven. These two babies were the hinges upon which that great door of history swung shut to the past and open to the future.

When Elizabeth discovered she was with child, she declared that the Lord had taken away her reproach. Barrenness in the ancient world was a reproach. But it is not an overstatement to say that our world discourages child-bearing. Whether in politics or healthcare or social justice, the question always revolves around how NOT to have babies, or the terrible problem caused by all of these babies. But God sees children as a blessing and not a curse. God is a God of fecundity and not of barrenness. Just as we bring forth and nourish our children in the hope that one day they will take up the responsibility of fighting for mankind, so God brought His Son into the world that He might shoulder the weight of the world. Children are our hope. So bring on the babies!

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