A baby is born. What a great day it is when a baby is born. It doesn’t even matter if I know the baby, I can be scrolling through Facebook and see someone posted a picture of their great-niece twice removed and I still say “oh, how sweet is she?” Babies bring such joy to those around them. They’re the sign of new life, new hope, a reminder that even in the midst of what can be a crazy world, God and His miraculous life-making power is at work. They’re just so special.
To every parent who has welcomed a new baby, on that blessed day when the baby makes its arrival, that parent is convinced that there has never been a more beautiful, a more precious, a more special child. Mary and Joseph, I’m sure, were convinced of the same thing. After all, she had given birth to the King of Kings, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. I’d say Mary had a right to feel that way.
At Christmas we all get the image in our head of a sweet baby born to save the world, a King lying in a manger. What a special child He was. What we don’t always remember is there was another very special child born as part of this wonderful story. A child whose mother not only knew her son was beautiful, precious and special, she knew her son was born with a specific purpose. He would prepare the way for the Lord.
When Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that Elizabeth would give birth to a son and they were to name him John, he told Zechariah of all the great things John would do. He would be a servant for the Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit would be with him, He would lead the people of Israel to turn back to the Lord, he would cause parents to be more thoughtful toward their children, he would get the people ready for the Lord.
What a special child, with a special purpose. So, when people were questioning his name and Zechariah and Elizabeth stood firm on their decision to do as Gabriel had said, the people knew that the Lord was with John. Already he was preparing the way. What a special child who not only brought joy to those around him. He was truly already becoming the sign of new LIFE, new HOPE, a reminder that the Messiah is coming. It’s amazing to me to see God already at work, creating someone to prepare the way for His Son even before His Son’s birth. Those details serve as another reminder to me that this story, this baby was a true miracle and was worth celebrating.