When the Child Was Born
Recently, I was speaking at a church in San Jose. After church, I had lunch with a pastor friend and his family. This pastor's daughter and her baby also joined us.
Since the birth of her baby, she has resigned from her hi-tech job and become a full-time Mom. Over the course of the meal, she said several times how much work it took to be a mother. Mind you, she enjoys the work and is proud to be a mother. She is happy in her present state. Yet, being a mom is a total demand of her time and energy. The birth of her baby has changed her life. She has added the role and identity of mother to her previous roles as wife and woman.
Her worth has changed. She was a career woman in the hi-tech world holding down a highly paid job. Now she is a work-at-home mom with a no-pay job. Her worth as a person was reflected before by a monthly paycheck; now, her worth is reflected by the development of her baby.
This young mother's outlook on life is also changed. Before, her world included her husband and her job. She focused on being a good wife and excelling at her job. Now, her world is focused on her child. She no longer focuses on climbing the corporate ladder. Her child demands her full attention and devotion.
The birth of the child Jesus has a similar effect on the lives of millions of Christians throughout the world. Christ's birth changed the identity, worth and outlook of many lives throughout the centuries.
In college, I had a roommate named Bob who loved photography. Bob also loved the Lord. When he could not spend enough time serving the Lord and at the same time taking pictures, he chose to drop his hobby. There is nothing wrong with photography, but when it competed with his time in serving the Lord, then it became a negative loss to him.
My pastor-friend's daughter is willing to stay home and take care of her baby. She is willing to let go of the satisfaction she derived from her job and her association with her colleagues at work because of the supremacy of taking care of her daughter. There is nothing wrong with working. There is nothing wrong with wanting a paycheck. There is nothing wrong with the feeling of satisfaction derived from a job well done. In her situation, these things came between her and her supreme job of taking care of her baby; all those good things became unimportant to her.
Forty years ago during a winter retreat, I dedicated my life to the Lord. Several months later, I responded to God for full-time vocational Christian service. After I responded positively to the calling of Christ, I faced some difficult barriers. My girlfriend left me and my mother threatened to commit suicide. If I were to yield to them and turn my back against Christ, I would not have the joy of experiencing the power of His resurrection and partake in the fellowship of His suffering. I had to go through the rejection of my girlfriend before God could give me my present wife. I had to live under the misery and fear of my mother's threat before I could see her confessing and accepting Christ several years later.
It has been a wonderful forty years since I received Jesus into my heart and put Him first in my life. The birth of the baby Jesus totally changed my life.
During this Christmas season, you may want to think anew of the meaning of the birth of Jesus to you. In what way has your life been changed by this blessed child?
Have a Merry Christ-mas.