Every Christmas Eve, our family puts on a Nativity pageant. When we started out, we would have one of the little ones play Baby Jesus. However, our kids soon felt like they were too old to play babies, and we switched to just picking up an old doll for the part. One year Baby Jesus was even just played by a bundle of blankets. (It was just easier than trying to convince a four-year-old to fit in a pretend manger and hold still.)
Once we started having grandchildren, all of a sudden, there were babies who could play that part again. Nevertheless, we quickly realized that, unlike the doll or the bundle of blankets, these babies scream, cry, wiggle, and often make the pageant a rowdy and disorderly affair.
Imagine a Nativity pageant without Jesus!
Joseph and Mary could go to Bethlehem, pay their taxes, and meekly stay in the stable. They could give a marvelous performance. The wise men, shepherds, angels, and so forth could say their lines and act their parts perfectly. There wouldn’t be a fussy baby to placate and keep still in the manger throughout the performance.
However, without the Baby in the manger, the pageant would have no point. It would be meaningless. I could make an analogy to this, showing how each of our stories, our parts in life, would be equally meaningless without that Baby in the manger and the hope He gives us. That would be true.
But I would like to go a little further.
Just like the Christ Child makes the Nativity and the gospel meaningful, the children we influence makes our lives meaningful. Any action; any goal; any policy, plan, dream, occupation, or accomplishment that does not affect at least one baby, in one crib, and his or her future, is temporary and of no lasting value. If we don’t impact the future of children, we have no lasting impact. Additionally, if we want to touch immortality and have our actions live beyond our last heartbeat, all we need to do is change the life of a child.
To quote a more contemporary source,
Our grandchildren may not be completely happy playing Baby Jesus, but it is through our grandchildren and children, whose lives we touch, that we have a lasting impact on humanity.
This Christmas make a difference in the life of a child, and your impact will be like a stone in still waters sending ever-expanding ripples into eternity — or, to again quote Buzz, “to infinity and beyond.”
This blog post is eigth out of a series of 12 Christmas stories by founder Rex Head. Read the other stories below.