Be careful with Baby Jesus

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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There is nothing quite like a baby. Seriously. A baby can turn the crustiest old coot into a blubbering idiot.

There are great moments when you get to witness a strong, self-assured man’s man holding a newborn for the first time. All that confident machismo dissolves as he tries to figure out what to grab, what to support and what end goes up. The look in his eyes can best be described as abject terror.

We know we have to be careful with a baby. In fact, when my youngest grand-blessing was born just over three months ago, her big sister (not quite 3 years old at the time) told the nurse in the hospital, “Be careful with our baby!”

There’s a lot of talk about a certain baby this time of year.

He was born in Bethlehem. His birthing room was a barn. His cradle was a feeding trough for livestock. His birth announcement was delivered by angels to shepherds.

You’ve heard all the songs. You’ve seen the artists’ interpretations of what it may have looked like. You’ve been reminded that this season of the year is about celebrating His birth and that He is the reason for the season.

Has anyone reminded you to be careful with the baby?

My purpose today is to remind all of us who cherish His birth of three ways to be careful with how we treat Him during this season.

  • Don’t use Him as a weapon. Can you imagine reaching into a cradle, grabbing a newborn by his ankle and swinging him like a club? How ridiculous! How careless! Well, I am of the opinion that we are guilty of using the Baby of Bethlehem as a weapon when we use this season to demand our way. Criticizing those who say terribly offensive things like “Happy Holidays,” suggesting that they have bowed to political correctness, or maybe even questioning their commitment to Jesus – these are some ways that we can weaponize the Baby.
  • Don’t use Him as an excuse. New parents get a brief pass for being somewhat self-absorbed. After a few days, they are just obnoxious. It is incredibly easy to be self-absorbed in our Christmas celebrations. Everything has to be perfect – the lights, the decorations, the parties, the meals, even the church gatherings. Being so focused on the details of the celebration that we can’t see people is one way that we may be using the Baby as an excuse to be Christmas talkers instead of Christmas people.
  • Don’t keep Him in the manger. Jesus was briefly in a manger in Bethlehem as an infant. I was briefly in a nursery in a hospital in Abilene as an infant. The story of my life has continued to unfold over the past 56 years, and it isn’t done yet. There are people who will be diligent to celebrate the birth of Jesus in this season, but will fail to consider that (1) He grew to adulthood while never committing a sin; (2) He died a cruel death on a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem, serving as a perfect, sinless, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world; and (3) that He rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, where He is currently seated at the right hand of God and is interceding on our behalf.

His whole story is eternally significant and that is what helps us understand how our lives matter to Him.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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