Swindoll writes, “World attention was on Napoleon whose army was sweeping across Europe. From Trafalgar to Waterloo his name was a synonym for superiority.” He goes on to remind us that at the time of the Little Corporal’s much ballyhooed invasions and battles, unknown babies were being born in less newsworthy parts of the world such as Britain and America. “Who was interested in cribs and bottles? ... History was being made. In 1809 Austria fell.”
But what else was happening in 1809? That was the year that William Gladstone, who was destined to become one of the greatest ever English statesman, was born. Famed poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, also came into the world in 1809. As did Oliver Wendell Holmes in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Edgar Allan Poe in Boston. And in a barely known town called Hodgenville, Kentucky, the man who would become the 16th President of the United States also came into the world that fateful year of 1809.
But who cared?! Napoleon Bonaparte had captured Austria. Apparently, nothing else at all mattered.
Swindoll then takes us back twenty centuries as he muses...
“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.”
In the fourth chapter (verse 4) of his New Testament letter to the Galatian Christians, the Apostle Paul states: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”
Thus we see the significance of an otherwise un-noteworthy birth in an obscure little village called Bethlehem in a backwater country called Judea. For it was here, on that first Christmas day, that the God of the universe entered the world as a little baby – a baby born not in a palace or mansion, but a stable.
And the destiny of this child was not so much to defeat Caesar as to defeat sin. Thirty three years later, on an old rugged cross and in an empty tomb outside Jerusalem that He left behind, this is exactly what He did! He gained victory for all mankind over sin! No wonder we celebrate the birth of our Savior!
STORY SOURCE: This story occurs in various froms in numerous books penned by Dr. Swindoll. Among them: Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, and The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart. Each of these is available for purchase at booksellers nationwide. Each is also available online at Google books. See, for instance: https://books.google.com/books?
It has also been cited by numerous other authors. See, for example: https://villageschoolsofthebible.wordpress.com/author/villageschoolsofthebible/
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/galatians/4-4.htm.
NOTE: I have referenced Dr. Swindoll’s credentials on several of my previous blog posts. See SLOW RIDE, TAKE IT EASY, 12/4/2015, and YUSSIF, THE TERRIBLE TURK, 1/31/2011 below.