Some special friends of ours have just had a baby. A totally gorgeous baby girl. (This picture isn’t her by the way – this is my boy on one of his not so happy days as a baby!) Anyway, back to the cute recently newborn…As usually happens when a baby is born everybody (including myself) goes crazy. Everyone wants to know the details, to see pictures, to have a cuddle, buy presents,etc.
It’s made me wonder why is it that we all get so gaga at baby news. What makes a newborn baby so special?
It might be because they’re cute, but then so are puppies and they don’t provoke quite the same reaction! Or perhaps because we’re just so relieved we’re not the ones having to do the sleepless nights! But I can’t help thinking it’s something to do with the hope, promise and future they represent. We look at them and see all the potential. With their whole lives ahead of them there is so much to hope for.
Somewhere along the way, over the next few years or decades this optimism seems to fade away. But I don’t think it needs to. I don’t think it should. Here are 3 lessons I think we can learn from newborns:
1. There are no limits on a baby’s life when they’re just born. The world is their oyster (any ideas what that means?!) As parents we dream big for them; not just in what they can achieve, but who they can become, what relationships they’ll form.
As we get older we start to put up some form of ceiling – over ourselves and our children to some extent. There are various reasons for this but none of them worth listening too. Aim high. If you ever find yourself thinking “if only I could do x” or “if only I was a little more y”, GO FOR IT. Yes, there’s always a chance you might not achieve it. But let me whisper to you – there’s just a chance you might.
2. Babies and children have a lot less fear than we do. Or at least they should, and my heart breaks over those for whom this is not the case. Some worries we have are rational, because of what we know to be real about the world. But there’s a lot we fear that just makes life less fulfilled, and we should do away with. Like fearing what others think. Fearing what might happen tomorrow. Fearing stuff we can’t see. The bible has a lot to say about fear and worry and one of my favourite verses says that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7). I’m slowly learning to choose everyday to live like this.
3. One of the adjectives we use to describe babies is “innocent”. They’ve not made any mistakes yet, and they don’t know all of the evil that exists in this world. As an adult I am constantly getting stuff wrong, messing up and having to say sorry. Being selfish is such an innate human trait that I can already see evidence of it in my 3 year old son. Most of the time when he’s making mistakes he’s just getting carried away or doesn’t yet know the rules. But there are times when it is pure selfishness, and it makes me sad to see it. He wants something his own way, just because.
But just how to a baby every moment is a new moment, so it can be with us. Although no mistakes “should” go unpunished, God has made it so that they can. There are always consequences to my mistakes but the need for punishment is fulfilled – by Jesus. So I can move on as if I’d never done wrong. And do it as many times as it takes for me to stop getting it wrong in the first place!
That, my friend, is good news! I might just go and get myself a nice present to celebrate!