One year ago today. It’s hard to believe. We got the call from Allison that we really did not expect for another week or so. “I think it’s time. Caleb is on the way.” Jacob was flying and now doing his best to get back home. Allison’s sister was in Houston. So Doris scrambled quickly, got over to her house, and then, her to the hospital, and…after a pretty long day, Caleb Race Courtney made his entrance. By that time Jacob had made it home. Josh, Jennifer, and I had gathered at the hospital, Josh watching Ohio State football on the television, the rest of us watching the door of the delivery room. And I will never forget the moment when the nurse called and ushered us to the window in front of the brand new baby display place. In a minute, a door opened and they rolled in this tiny, purplish bundle in a plastic bassinet followed by this weeping, red headed airline pilot, and i wasn’t sure which one grabbed my heart more.
Today is Caleb’s birthday. He is one. I wonder if he had known what kind of year 2020 was going to be if he might not have just crawled back up where he came from and said, I’ll wait it our here and try again NEXT December 28. But he didn’t know. Neither did we. And for all of the fear and frustration and foreboding of the last 12 months, it has been one of the best years of our lives as we have all gotten to know Caleb. When things have been dark, we have gone over and held Caleb. When the world has become angry and agitated, we have played with Caleb. When Doris and I have been tempted to lose hope, we have taken out our phones and rewatched videos of Caleb. It is amazing what a difference a baby can make.
So that got me to thinking. Did Mary, and Joseph, and the shepherds ask the same questions? Did they say, I wonder who He looks like? Do you think He will like Ohio State football? What difference will He make?
Here’s what I think about babies in general and Caleb and Jesus in particular. First, they make no difference at all. Oh, initially there is some oohing and aawwing. The shepherds probably took out their cell phones and snapped a few selfies. But before long, the sheep needed to be fed. The other kids needed to be cared for. The Ohio State game was still on. Stuff called and they (and we) go back to our everyday lives without much change. We have thoroughly enjoyed Caleb but he really hasn’t changed things. He doesn’t help mow the grass. He hasn’t taken out the trash or helped with the dishes. He doesn’t go to work, pay bills, make major decisions. Life goes on after the new baby comes and not much changes.
On the other hand, everything changes. When Josh, our first son, was born, Doris and I quit talking to each other for three months. We only talked to Josh. “Josh, tell mommy it’s time for church.” “Josh, tell daddy to hold his horses. I almost ready.” “Josh, tell mommy she is always late.” “Josh, tell daddy he will be sleeping in your room with you tonight.” Babies change things. There are different schedules, different responsibilities, different diets, even different financial realities. When we finally quit buying pampers and formula, we moved into a whole new tax bracket. I’ve also seen other changes, more significant ones. Young parents decide to start going to church. Marriages begin to get better (or worse.) Dads start spending more time at home. A lot of good things happen when a new baby comes.
And here’s the last thing, there is the potential for HUGE changes. I remember Doris’s mom expressing fear when we told her we were expecting. She said, “The world is such a dark place. I hate the thought of bringing a new baby in to it.” To which I responded, not so sweetly, “This kid may grow up to be president of the United States and change the world.” Well, it doesn’t look like neither of my sons will be president of the United States. (Right now, Jon-Mical, our first grandson is on track for that.) But both sons are changing the world, at least their part of it. And Caleb has nothing but incredible potential to make the world a far, far better place. Every new baby brings that with them. In fact, that hope is what drives most of us to be better ourselves, for their sakes.
So, back to baby Jesus. He didn’t change anything in some ways. He changed everything for Mary and Joseph, and all those who met Him personally. HE STILL DOES THAT. And He brought about a potential change that is still being played out today. If I follow Him, if I seek to live like Him, if I allow Him to use me, the possibility of the changes that can bring about is limitless. In fact, He said, “Greater things than I have done , you will do.” John 14:12 Now THAT is potential change.
So, as 2020 comes to a close, and 2021 breaks in upon us, I find myself asking this, not so much what difference did a baby make? But, what difference can I make because of that baby? Because of Caleb, I want to help make the world a better place. Because of Jesus, I can.
***Note: I am committed to making 2021 the year of good content. I plan to blog, podcast, YouTube, Instagram, do whatever I can to share informational, and hopefully, inspirational material. I hope you will watch for it, maybe subscribe to something ( I don’t know what yet) to help me make the world a better place, for Caleb, and for Jesus.