Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is expecting her first child with Prince Harry, according to an announcement by Kensington Palace this morning. The palace said the baby is expected in the spring of 2019.
The news was announced as the couple began a tour of Australia, their first official tour since their marriage. Their baby will be seventh in line to the throne.
Why is a royal baby so special?
UNICEF estimates that 353,000 babies are born each day around the world. What makes a royal baby so special?
Prince George was born on July 22, 2013. The next evening, he was presented to “the biggest media circus in royal history.” Hundreds of TV crews and reporters lined up for almost a month outside the hospital where his mother gave birth.
When Princess Charlotte was carried out of the hospital, the receiving blanket in which she was wrapped sold out within minutes. Its brand monitored 100,000 people from 183 countries visiting their website in less than twenty-four hours. When Prince George greeted President Obama at Kensington Palace in 2016, the clothes he was wearing sold out in minutes as well.
It has been this way for many years. When Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) appeared on the cover of Time magazine in the early 1930s, her clothing was copied in stores across America. In the 1890s, when the Duke of Windsor wore a straw hat, his appearance revived the Nottingham straw industry.
Why are we fascinated by celebrities?
There is no question that our age is fascinated by celebrities. Dozens of magazines and innumerable websites are devoted to them. Their exploits and experiences often lead the evening news ahead of events of far greater consequence to our lives.
Psychologists have various explanations for this fascination.
One is Terror Management Theory, which states that our anxiety over death drives us to seek a sense of self-esteem, worth, and sustainability. Thus, we focus on people whose lives seem successful, vicariously identifying with them in order to participate in their transcendent success.
Another psychologist points to our desire to emulate successful people so that we might become more successful ourselves. Teenagers who are still establishing their identities are especially susceptible to obsessing about sports figures, movie and television stars, recording artists, and the like.
How does God feel about celebrities?
How does our Lord feel about our culture’s focus on celebrities? Consider three biblical facts.
One: We should emulate people whose lives glorify God. Paul encouraged his readers to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Hebrews 13:7 calls us to imitate the faith of those who spoke God’s word to us. Our supreme example, of course, is Jesus: “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Two: We must not emulate people whose lives do not glorify God. The Lord warned the Israelites not to imitate the immorality of the Canaanites (Leviticus 20:23; Deuteronomy 18:9). Scripture urges us: “Do not proceed in the way of evil men” (Proverbs 4:14 NASB).
Three: We must seek God’s glory above our own. King Solomon observed, “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory” (Proverbs 25:27). Paul could testify, “Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others” (1 Thessalonians 2:6).
However, it is the heart of our sinful condition to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5), to make ourselves our own celebrities, to seek to impress people with ourselves more than with our Lord. Why do we do this?
Why do we seek to be our own celebrity?
Paul testified, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). His statement reveals a binary truth: I cannot try to impress people with myself and with Jesus at the same time.
This fact extends even to the things we do to impress people that are not necessarily sinful in themselves. Showing off our intelligence or wit, our knowledge or experience–anything we say or do that is intended to honor us cannot also honor our Lord.
Our need to be our own celebrity is rooted in our deep brokenness. We know we are sinners, and we feel our inadequacy and inferiority every day. We then compensate by trying to project what psychologists call our “idealized self,” the person we wish we were. We want others to believe that we are our best self so we might believe it ourselves.
Consider how different our culture would be if we would stop trying to find worth in the eyes of others and found it in our Father’s love for us. How much sin would cease? How much mental anguish and emotional pain would be healed? How many relationships would be restored?
Why should we “do all to the glory of God”?
The eyes of our culture are focused this morning on news of a new royal baby. As notable as the announcement may be, our higher focus should remain on the Son of the King, the only One who can save us from our sins, restore us to our Father and to ourselves, and heal the deep brokenness of our world.
He and he alone deserves to be glorified with our passionate worship and highest service.
Here’s the paradox: the more we seek to glorify Jesus, the more joyful and significant our lives become. J. I. Packer: “‘Man’s chief end,’ says the Shorter Catechism, magnificently, ‘is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.’ End, note, not ends; for the two activities are one. God’s chief end, purposed in all that he does, is his glory (and what higher end could he have?), and he has so made us that we find our own deepest fulfillment and highest joy in hallowing his name by praise, submission, and service.”
John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Our Lord commands us: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Will you “do all to the glory of God” today?