To anyone who has become a new parent or who have had a sibling born, they know that having a baby changes everything. In that one moment everything that was in the lives of all those involved directly is changed forever. That same can be said for when Jesus was first born. Never at any point in history could the line a baby changes everything be more meaningful. For those unfamiliar with this line, “A Baby Changes everything” it is a song by American country singer Faith Hill. It was the first single released from her album Joy to the World. It was her thirteenth single release to AC radio, and in late 2008, the song spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
It also was true inspiration for my 2008 play and 2009 indie movie Meaning of Christmas. I used the phrase “A baby Changes Everything” as the tag line for the production and used the song as the theme song for the plays. The song is the tale of a pregnant teenage girl faced with the uncertainty of her future and coming to terms with the fact that her life is about to change. The first part of the song fits very well with the story line of the play. You would think Faith is singing about one of many teenage girls who face a pregnancy each year in North America. But she is singing about a special teenager and it is in the bridge of the song, it is revealed that the teenage girl and baby in question are in fact the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The coming of Jesus did change everything. We didn’t know the full extent of it at that time but as the Angels proclaimed he was the savior that was coming to save us all. Jesus was God’s greatest gift to us. Jesus is the reason we celebrate this season of Christmas.
Jesus came to be not only our savior but our light. A light that came into this world to change everything and enable us to know the way of God, enable us to see where we are to go if we want to fulfill the promise of the fullness of God’s reign. Jesus coming into our midst and the light he offered was so extraordinary that John, who is known in the bible as one of the greatest of the prophets, says in effect, “I am nothing in the presence of this one who is to come. I’m not worthy to untie the thong of His sandal, to kneel down and put on His sandals or take them off.”
Thomas Merton who was a well-known spiritual writer, a monk who entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in the 1940s had this to say once, “We do not understand that this business about the crib is the real revolution that once and for all turned everything upside-down so that nothing has ever been, or can ever be, the same again. With the coming of Jesus, everything changes.” Now if we listen deeply to what is said in Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11, we will begin to understand how things are changed with the coming of Jesus. The verse comes from the prophet Isaiah, the prophet writing at the time when the Chosen People were exiled and in terrible suffering. The One is to come and deliver them from this exile. Isaiah talks about this One. “The spirit of God is upon me because God has anointed me. God has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to give the blind new sight, to heal the broken hearted, to set the downtrodden free and proclaim God’s year of jubilee.” Jubilee year was every 50th year in the Hebrew tradition when everything is changed. Wealth is redistributed, debts are forgiven and everyone has a chance to start over.
It’s a Jubilee time when God makes it possible for every person to have a full human life. Isaiah proclaimed that message hundreds of years before Jesus, but it’s important for us to realize, when we go to the Gospel of St. Luke, that Jesus, after His time in the desert, when He has spent six weeks in prayer and fasting, putting Himself in touch with God and heard God’s call to Him, Jesus comes from the desert, goes to the synagogue in Galilee and Jesus is invited to read. He unrolls the scroll to this passage and he proclaims it. I’d like to try and imagine myself in that synagogue, hearing Jesus say those words with a determination, and I would think with a sense of joy and great hope.
The spirit of God is upon me. God sent me to bring good news to the poor, to show this preferential option for the poor, to go to the poor first of all, to heal the broken hearted, to reach out to those who are suffering in any way, to give the blind new sight, and enable people to seen not only physically but with their inner sight, to set the downtrodden free, to make justice happen, to unbind the thong of the yoke of injustice, to make a world where everyone shares what God has given for all. Jesus come as a human baby changed everything. His life and his minister changed everything and finally his death on the cross changed everything. But all that change started with a small baby on Christmas morning that was what shepherds came to see because Angels told them and who Magi spent years following a star to find to give the child and his family special gifts. Just like any baby that is born nothing is the same once the child ahs arrived. Jesus changed the world forever with his birth. “For onto us a child is born and he shall be called Emmanuel which means God is with us.” God gave us the greatest gift in his Son He gave us the Gift of Love. One small helpless baby changed everything.