Pastor and teacher, Chuck Swindoll wonders what story Dan Rather would have reported if he was alive in 1809. Something in England? An event or person living in America? None of the above. Swindoll writes, “World attention was on Napoleon whose army was sweeping across Europe. From Trafalgar to Waterloo his name was synonym for superiority.”
Swindoll reminds us that at the time of the Corsican’s invasions and battles, babies were being born in Britain and America. “Who was interested in cribs and bottles…history was being made. In 1809 Austria fell.”
That year William Gladstone was born and would become one of the greatest English statesman. Alfred Tennyson came into the world in 1809. So did Oliver Wendell Holmes in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Edgar Allan Poe in Boston. Charles Darwin and the man who would become our 16th President of the United States came into the world that fateful year of 1809.
But who cared? Napoleon captured Austria. Nothing else mattered.
Pastor Swindoll invites us to go back nineteen centuries. “Who could have cared about the birth of a baby while the world was watching Rome in all her splendor? The Mediterranean to the south. Euphrates to the east. Atlantic to the west. The Roman empire was as vast as it was vicious. The queen of all nations had arisen to reign forever.
“All eyes were on Caesar who demanded a census so as to determine a measurement to enlarge taxes. Who was interested in a couple making an eighty mile trip south from Nazareth? What were they in light of a mighty Caesar and his edicts? Who cared about a Jewess giving birth to a boy?
“God did! Without realizing it, mighty Augustus was only an errand boy for the fulfillment of Micah’s prediction…a pawn in the hand of Jehovah. While Rome was busy making history, God arrived as a baby. Rome is but a yawn in the memory of human history but Jesus changed the world.”
Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” On that first Christmas day God entered the world as a baby. Born not in a palace or mansion but a stable. His destiny was not to defeat Caesar but sin. At the cross and empty tomb He gained the victory for the sake of sinful man.