How to rediscover Christmas joy in an age that hates new life
December 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The spirit of the age tells Christians that we have no right to celebrate the birth of a baby.
This spirit insidiously whispers that another number has now been added to what it says is an already over-populated world. This spirit murmurs that another consumer will now add his part in depleting the earth’s resources that it says is already far too stretched. It mutters that another carbon footprint will now add more pollution to an environment that it says is already far too devastated.
The spirit of the age is essentially anti-life and anti-child. Contraception and abortion have allowed it to creep into the hearts and minds of many.
How is it possible for anyone infected, even partially, with the spirit of this age to truly celebrate the birth of a baby?
The spirit of the age taunts us with discouraging questions: “Can you really rejoice in the birth of another “number,” an additional “consumer,” one more “carbon footprint?”
“Can you really celebrate Christmas, when Jesus was born?” the spirit of the age sneers.
And yet, this is precisely what we as Christians are called to do at Christmas. We are called to welcome this new human life into our hearts; to receive the gift of his divine life that he came to give to us; to listen to and take to heart the rather astounding message he came to deliver.
How can we do this if we have personally partnered with the spirit of the age so that we find ourselves not being able to truly rejoice at the birth of some else’s baby because we have closed off that part of ourselves that receives and welcomes new life?
What are we to do?
The answer is more simple than you think: We must become childlike. This is one of the life-changing messages Jesus delivered to us.
"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3), he said.
But how do we do this? How does one become childlike?
I have a little story to share that may be helpful.
Last year, my wife and I were expecting another baby. We decided to announce the news to our children after making a special dinner and having a special dessert. We told them that we were celebrating something special. I decided to film the announcement so that I could share the news in video form to our family and friends far away.
Erin and I were unprepared for how our children reacted to the news that a new baby was going to be born into our family.
At first the children were all puzzled about why I had brought a cake with a birthday sparkler on it (we always use sparklers for our birthday cakes).
“Is it someone’s birthday?” one asked.
“Is it Sunday?” another asked.
“We have a special announcement to make,” I said.
The children’s excitement had now reached a peak. Their eyes sparkled with anticipation for whatever important news I was about to announce.
“Mommy and Daddy are having another baby,” I exclaimed.
I had hardly finished uttering the words when pandemonium broke loose.
Joy sounded off.
There was shouting and clapping. The floor was stamped on. The table was pounded. Cutlery and china clanged merrily in response.
“YAAAAAAAAAAAY,” they shouted at the top of their voices.
“HOOOOOOOOOORAAAAAY,” they trumpeted.
The children then stampeded over to Erin to say hello to the new baby in her womb.
“Hello baby,” they said, as they patted and rubbed her belly.
I was deeply moved by the pure joy that just radiated from my children at hearing this news. Erin, also deeply moved, cried quiet tears.
They had not been told how they should react to this news. It was a complete surprise to them. The spirit of the age had nothing to do with their behavior.
Their reaction was simply the most beautiful rejoicing that a new human being was coming into our family and they would be able to meet him soon.
They immediately found a place in their hearts to love this new baby. Their lives were immediately enriched by his life. Their happiness abounded that a new creation that had not been there before, but now was there, was now going to become part of their lives.
These children unexpectedly taught my wife and me anew just how precious is a new human life.
Their reaction helped us to treasure the gift we had been given.
Their example helped us to become more childlike.
No matter what mistakes we have made, no matter how much we have been tainted by the anti-life and anti-child spirit of this age, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has the power to “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
He can take our wounded and broken hearts and transform them into the hearts of little children so we too can truly rejoice at the good news of his birth in Bethlehem.
All we have to do is ask him to come into our hearts. He is a gentle and loving God who has come into the world, not to condemn, but to save (Jn. 12:47).
We only have to approach him with the heart of a child, with confidence and with trust, and ask for his help.
He tells us as much: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).
We can place our broken and calloused hearts into the manger in which he lays and ask him to transform them into loving joyful hearts.
The spirit of the age has it all wrong. Life is beautiful, precious, and to be treasured. The God who so loved the world that he gave it his only Son will never allow his children whom he loves so dearly and for whom he sacrificed so much to be annihilated by their problems. God is in the business of saving man. This is at the very heart of who God is.
When God transforms our hearts like those of little children, we will rejoice in every child’s birth because every child is a son or daughter of God who is destined for greatness in a Kingdom not of this world.
Christ is born. Glorify him.
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