Where's The Baby?

The two young women, sisters, were out for a late afternoon stroll along the popular walking path in Compton, south LA. “Do you hear that cat?” one of them stopped. Both listened. Sure enough—from somewhere not so far away came a faint whimper. “Gotta be a cat.” They strained to listen. “Sounds more like a baby to me.” Impossible. Nothing there but the asphalt bike path and a chain linked fence. But they heard it again. “It’s gotta be.” They dialed 911.

Two deputies from the LA Sherrif’s Department arrive. “Can you hear it?” The deputies nod. Nothing but asphalt and a chain linked fence, until one of them notices a crack in  the paved pathway. Stooping over he pulls on the cracked asphalt—easily dislodging a piece of it, disclosing a crevice filled with debris. Scooping aside the debris, he spots the edge of a hospital blanket. And wrapped in the blanket a still breathing but cold to the touch newborn. Paramedics arrive, treat the tiny little girl at the scene, race her to the hospital—where she’s doing fine! Although truth is, covered with debris and asphalt the baby would’ve perished had someone not scooped the rubbish aside.

What a grand narrative for Christmas!

Or rather, what a provocative metaphor for this season of Christ’s birth—a season that begins with the advent of Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday, followed by Discounted Tuesday, followed by Wholesale Wednesday, followed by Slashed-prices Thursday? Et al. What is the Christmas season but twenty-four days of interminable shopping—credit-carding, lay-awaying, savings-spending, buying-buying-buying—until Christmas? But where’s the Baby?

Shoppers in this nation spent an estimated $12.1 billion on Christmas shopping this Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Add to that the more than $3 billion spent online on Cyber Monday, and Americans have already forked over $15 billion-plus shopping in this season that celebrates the birth of Jesus. But where’s the Baby?

Could it be the Baby now grown up wonders the same? Covered over with the asphalt of consumerism and the debris of materialism and got-to-have-it-ism, are we the nation that boasts “In God We Trust” on our currency?

And are we the Americans who have declared to the planet we can’t afford to allow even a 1000 Syrian refugees onto our shores or into our states for fear they might threaten our way of living and spending? Emma Lazarus’ words inscribed inside the Statue of Liberty surely don’t mean us—not this Christmas—do they?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning
to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of
your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

What difference can you personally make this Christmas? #1—You can cast your vote against our rampant consumerism by ramping back your investments at Walmart, Target, Macy’s and their like. #2—You can choose to spend a comparable amount of money assisting a needy family in this community (mark your donation to Neighbor to Neighbor on a tithe envelope before Christmas). #3—You can decide to assist a refugee family even before they are granted asylum somewhere on earth (maybe not here) by giving a Christmas gift through ADRA.org (Adventist Development Relief Agency). #4—You can save the money you would spend on Christmas and set it aside for your “My Student Missionary Fund” so you can put legs on your compassion and go somewhere on earth to help this suffering world. You can do something!

Where’s the Baby? “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me’” (Matthew 25:40). That’s where He is.