My wife Lauren now "great with child," as they say, Christmas feels a bit different in our household this year.
Few of our countrymen are having children these days. And very few indeed are having more than two if they can help it. My wife and I thereby find ourselves receiving the gift of commentary from time to time as we expect our eighth. Much of the feedback from broader society is congratulatory, albeit puzzled and bewildered, and generous with assertions of "That's crazy!"
But population growth in America last year was the lowest it's ever been in this country's history - a mere 0.1% due in part to a perfect storm of conditions and attitudes which have persuaded most people that now is not a good time to increase their family size.
Psalm 127 rings in our ears all the same.
"Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh,
the fruit of the womb a reward."
It seems the mainstream has more in the mindset described in Isaiah 3.
"My people—infants are their oppressors..."
Even so, Christmas is wonderful for the fact that the fulfillment of the promise of God to redeem His people was the birth of a baby - the Messiah. This innocent babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger would save his people, lifting the curse of sin and death.
King Herod saw the child as a threat, sending soldiers to Bethlehem to find and kill him. But not taking any chances, Herod ordered his lackeys to murder every baby boy under the age of two.
Tragically, far too many Americans have the mindset of Herod rather than Joseph.
For Unto You is Born
We should admire Joseph and Mary all the more, then. Rather than bemoaning that this was hardly the best time, or that they weren't in the best position to have and raise a child right now, Joseph and Mary saw the greatest fulfillment of their God-given potential as humble obedience to the perfect and holy will of the Most High.
Their country was under foreign occupation. The wicked king of Judea would hunt their son. People might talk. Yet they would diligently care for this baby boy entrusted to them, even though it meant fleeing to Egypt until the threat had passed.
Take note in God's warning Joseph in a dream a comforting truth about the Lord that the unchangeable character of his purpose will not be thwarted, whatever cruelty and malice would try against those who belong to God.
Walk a mile in the sandals of the shepherds to whom the angel appeared as they were keeping watch over their flock by night. As Luke 2:10-14 records,
"...The angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”"
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