Saturday, December 24, 2011

Everything Changed When The Baby Arrived

In Bret Harte’s story, “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” he describes the camp as the meanest, vilest mining town in the entire West. No other town could come close to matching Roaring Camp’s reputation for murders or thefts. It was a terrible place and it was inhabited entirely by men with the exception of only one tough woman named Cherokee Sal who died while giving birth to a baby.

The men of the town didn’t know what to do with the baby. They found an old box, stuffed it full of rags and nestled the baby in the crude, makeshift crib. But they decided that the box wasn’t suitable for the newborn so they sent one of the men on an eighty-mile trip to purchase a new rosewood cradle. When he brought it back, they arranged the rags in the cradle and placed the baby in her new bed. But then the old rags just didn't seem right in the new cradle so another miner made a trip to Sacramento to buy some beautiful silk and lace baby blankets.

Finally they had a bed fit for the baby and they thought everything looked fine until someone happened to notice how filthy the floor was. Soon, some of the tough, hardened men got down on their hands and knees, and began scrubbing the floor. The clean floor stood in stark contrast to the dingy walls and the smoke-stained ceiling. And the dirty, bare windows looked awful. So they cleaned and polished and painted and they hung curtains in the windows. At last, things were beginning to look appropriate for the home of a newborn baby.

It wasn’t very long before the men began making some other concessions. Their language changed and the atmosphere in Roaring Camp turned noticeably more civil and serene. They had to give up their fighting (the baby needed lots of sleep and babies can't sleep very well during brawls and gunfights). Sometimes, when the weather was nice, the men would take her out and set her in her cradle by the entrance to the mine so they could see her when they came up. Then somebody noticed how dirty the mine entrance was so they planted a very nice flower garden there. It was quite a beautiful place for the baby. All the men gave her lots of attention and they brought her shiny little stones and hand made toys. But when they saw their own hands next to hers, they realized just how dirty they were. Pretty soon the general store was all sold out of soap, shaving gear and perfumes. Everything about Roaring Camp changed when that baby arrived.

The incarnation was like that. The coming of Christ to a feeding trough in a dirty, smelly stable seems strange but when the Almighty God entered into this wicked world in the form of a helpless little baby, everything changed.

There is a place that is even dirtier than that stable and more wicked than Roaring Camp. It is the human heart. But when Jesus Christ enters into our lives, things begin to happen. He slips into every crevice of our thoughts and experiences. He gently makes us aware of all the things that aren’t right in our lives and He begins to clean us up and make us fit for Him to live in us. Everything changes when He is born in our Hearts.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17

1 comment:

Ellery said...

We all need a reason to pretty up the outside and the inside. Good post. On a side note I always say, "my wife makes me a better man."