While the Chinese calendar marks 2013 as the year of the Snake, personally, I think it is the year of the Baby. Well, two babies to be exact; two very high profile babies. In one corner we have the babe to be born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a royal child if there ever was one. In the other corner we have the baby to be born to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. As the queen of self-publicizing, Kardashian didn’t waste time in announcing the presence of the child growing inside her. Yes, 2013 is surely the stage for the battle of which baby can get more press.
In many ways, these two children could not be any more different. One child is born to an austere family of nobility and charm. There is a sense of dignity to this child. This child will have the unusual combination of being a stardom and servant hood. While they will be a celebrity in their own right, there will also be the sense that they exist to serve the people of their country. There is an expected quiet humility to this child, a humility that contains the deep dreams of not just the monarchy, but also the people. Not that tall of an order to live up to.
Kardashian’s baby is in many ways, the direct opposite. This child will ooze celebrity extravaganza. There will not so much be the air of nobility and charm as there will be the flash of cameras and the sparkle of glitz. This child will live their lives in the magazines, and will grow knowing that each moment of their life is marketable. After all, when their “first” baby picture gets sold to the magazine with the deepest pockets, it’s hard not to develop that understanding.
Yet as much as they are different, these two children are the same. Each child will be born in the best places possible. They will be surrounded by the best doctor’s, nurses, mid-wives and specialists. Important people will associate themselves with the birth of the child in some manner. There will be articles written about the amount spent on their bedroom set, to the diamond coated soother gifted to them. Baby-pools will be created for every aspect of the child’s birth – from when they are born, to the sex of the child, to what name will be given them. (The royal child will no doubt be given some grand name like Edmund, or Victoria; the rock star baby will be named something flashy and off-beat: like Constantine or Ferrari). Despite all differences, both these children will be born into a word where their sense of personhood is foisted upon them by masses of faceless individuals. These two children will grow up into the identity that is held up before them.
What are the things that inform our own identity? Like the two children born later this year, our sense of who we are does not grow independently from the deep recesses of our consciousness. It is not completely self-defined. It is, in part, formed from the outside of ourselves, as we grow into an identity held before us. The question is, to whom do we listen? Do we listen to the voices of expectation and critique, to will love us one moment and demonize us the next? Do we listen to the voice of all that tells us what we should wear, should look like, should do, should be, should marry, should earn, should buy? Or do we listen to voice of the one in whose image we have been cast? Do we attempt to see and develop our identity in the context of his presence? Do we wish to have his love work and rework us, form and reform us? Do we great each day, not with the eagerness to obtain more love, more adoration, more praise, and more acceptance, but with the desire to become more like him who loved us and gave himself for us?
How do you allow God to help form your own identity? What are the ways that God is helping you be more like him?