Religion in Daily Life
© by the Rev. Edward Chinn, D.Min.
Sunday, 15 December 2002
A certain king dreamed about a huge pair of scales held in
the hand of Justice. The scales reached from earth to sky. On one side of
the scales was piled gold, jewels, houses, and lands, symbols of material
power. This side of the scale touched the earth. On the other side of the
scales was a bed of straw. A woman came with a baby in her arms. She put
the baby in the bed of straw. Immediately, the scales moved until the
side with the baby outweighed the side loaded with the material. Babies
can always tip the scales and outweigh the material.
Babies can tip the scales for new adventures. A young couple took their
three-month old baby to the movies. The usher warned them, "If the baby
cries, you'll have to leave. Of course, we'll give you your money
back." The couple entered the darkened theater and watched the movie for
about a half hour. Then, the husband turned to the wife and asked, "How
do you like the show?" The wife replied, "It's rotten." The husband
agreed, saying, "I think so, too. Pinch the baby." Babies introduced us
to new experiences, new emotions, and a new understanding of God's
careful respect for human freedom.
Babies can tip the scales for new hopes. In 1941, a New York pastor, H.
E. Fosdick, wrote about the battles of 1809. Napoleon dominated the world
scene. Until 1814, Napoleon's victories made constant news. People felt
hopeless and afraid. The forces of death seemed so strong. Unnoticed by
the world, the forces of life were at work, too. In 1809, when Europe
shook with the battles of Napoleon, babies were being born, babies that
would tip the scales of history with new hopes. Among those babies of
1809 were Abraham Lincoln, Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Darwin, William
Gladstone, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Alfred Tennyson.
Babies can tip the scales for a new era. The baby whose birth we
celebrate at Christmas tipped the scales and led to the division of
Western history into B.C.^×Before Christ^×and A.D.^×The Year of the Lord.
Remember the great works of music composed to celebrate his life. Recall
the hospitals and universities around the world and in Philadelphia that
have been erected by his followers. Think how the leaven of his influence
has led to the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, and the
continuing struggle for human rights. At the center of Christmas are the
words: "You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a
manger" (Luke 2:12).