A Baby Can Set Things Right

By December of 1988, my husband and I had moved our little family two times in the previous six months due to a family emergency. The home we moved into on Thanksgiving Day was up-for-sale and, a few days after we’d put our things away, it looked as if the house had sold and we’d need to move a third time before the end of the year. I was nine months pregnant and the baby was due December 27th; we not only had our little family to move, but also our livestock. Our resources were limited and our options few.

For days I fretted where our newborn baby would “lay down its sweet head.”  The physical and emotional ache of the previous months, along with a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and a 2-year-old were wearing me down. All I could do was take one morning at a time.

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 “Journey to Bethlehem”   Artist: Joesph Brickey

That year I felt an increased empathy for Mary and Joseph. The stress that my husband, Calvin, and I felt was heavy – and we had more than a donkey with which to move our things.

And then she was born. December 21st. Suddenly it didn’t matter if that baby was going to sleep in a laundry basket, a crib, or a box. She was here in all her purity and innocence and our family was richer for her birth. She came home from the hospital Christmas Eve and no Christmas gift has equaled her since.

A baby can set things right.

Several years ago, I read a true story called, “Saved by a Newborn Infant.” It told of a Christian missionary couple and their five small children who were serving in the mountains and jungles of Africa. They lived in a beautiful, yet primitive area and were crowded into a tiny shack. Not long after they had been there, the mother discovered she was going to have another baby.

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Having children in Africa was hard with the poor food, threat of sickness and infection, contaminated water, and lack of educational opportunities. The mother was resentful and said it did not seem fair that God was sending them another child when they already had so many small children and were trying to help the natives through their missionary efforts. She blamed God and wished He would take the baby from her.

But He didn’t and the time for the birth of the baby arrived and the mother, being weak and in poor health, knew she needed a doctor’s care. But there were none nearby and the couple had no one to leave their other five children with, so the father loaded the family into a car and drove them into a town where there was a good mission hospital. The family stayed there until after the baby was born.

The mother recalled, “When we returned to our house with the new baby we learned that in the short days we had been gone the dreaded Mau Mau had come. They had murdered every white person in the entire area. Had we been home we would have all been killed. This little darling was sent by God to save all our lives. Never again shall I rebel against His ways for our lives.”

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For unto Us a Child Is Born.  Painting by Lynne Millmam Weidinge

“This little darling was sent by God to save all our lives” could easily have been thought by the shepherds when they came to the manger. Mary and Joseph must have thought of it repeatedly as they fed, diapered, washed, protected, and cuddled Him. Simeon, Anna, and the Wise Men, surely they knew it when they found Him.

Baby Jesus set things right in this world and in eternity. A newborn sent by God to save us all. I know He lives and saves us; He is our Savior.  I’m grateful you know it, too.  Merry Christmas!

Jane Payne 

Featured Image, “Little Lamb” by Jenedy Paige