A baby changes everything

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By Nancy Kennedy

When my daughter Alison was a baby, I bundled her up in her white snowsuit (we lived in Northern Maine), slipped on the icy sidewalk and dropped her. Thankfully, the snowsuit protected her and she survived to spit up all over my husband's suede jacket.

When she was big enough to do so, she took the knobs off our stereo. We found all but one, which we feared she had swallowed because she kept coughing. Panicked, we took her to the emergency room to be x-rayed - no sign of the stereo knob. We found it days later in the laundry basket.

Another time she shoved a grape up her nose, also a popcorn seed.

She used to take her diaper off in her crib and shake the contents everywhere - with great glee. She screamed whenever she was in her car seat.

My husband, terrified of crib death, didn't sleep soundly during her entire first year, getting up several times a night to make sure she was still breathing.

A baby changes everything.

When Alison was 5 and I found out I was pregnant with Laura, one of my first thoughts was, "Oh no! Potty training!"

A baby definitely changes everything.

This past Thanksgiving as we drove home from dinner, the radio station we had on played Christmas songs. I'd heard all of them a billion times, but then they played one I hadn't heard, "A Baby Changes Everything," sung by Faith Hill. Ever since, the words have stuck with me.

It starts out with a young girl discovering she's pregnant. She's not married and she worries what people will say.

It's ambiguous who this young woman is. The song could be about any unwed pregnant teen.

But it's a Christmas song about the unwed teen mother of Jesus. At the end of each verse Hill repeats, "A baby changes everything."

As a song, the lyrics are predictable and somewhat trite. There's shepherds and a star, a "choir of angels" and "glory to the newborn King."

Maybe it's Hill's voice or maybe it's the choir singing and the orchestra accompanying her, or maybe it's something altogether different. But as simplistic as that song is, every time I hear it or even think of it, it strikes something in me that I can only describe as worship.

A baby changes everything.

After I came home, I found the song online and have been playing it, humming it, singing it.

A baby changes everything.

Pastors and preachers, column writers and probably song writers tend to dread this time of year because there truly is nothing new to say about Christmas. It's all been said before, by people much more insightful and inspired and smarter than I.

But maybe it's not my job to say anything new. Maybe all God wants of me is to remind you (as I remind myself) that there isn't anything new about Christmas. It's about the baby who changed everything - and not just changed the world with his coming and with his death and resurrection, but he continues to change people and circumstances.

He changes people's desires and motives, their futures, their dreams and purposes, changes every aspect of their lives.

The song ends with Hill singing, "My whole life is turned around." She sings what people have sung for generations, "I was lost, but now I'm found."

The prophet Isaiah said about this baby:

"A child has been born - for us! The gift of a son - for us! He'll take over the running of the world. His name will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings" (Isaiah 9:6-7, The Message).

Born to break the curse of sin and death, to bind up the broken-hearted, bring comfort, peace and hope to everyone who calls on his name, this baby changes everything.