1809

Had you picked up a daily newspaper in 1809, you would have read the big news that Napoleon I, emperor of France, had conquered Austria at Wagram, annexed the Illyrian Provinces (now part of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), and abolished the Papal States.

But in that same year, in France...

Louis Braille, who devised a way for the blind to read, was born.

And in Germany...

Felix Mendelssohn, the great composer of symphonies, was born.

And in England...

William Gladstone, the four-time Prime Minister and the father of public education, was born.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, the poet laureate of Great Britain, was born.

Charles Darwin, the most influential scientist of the nineteenth century, was born.

And in America ...

Edgar Allen Poe, the master poet and storyteller, was born.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the writer and physician who developed surgical techniques still in use today, was born.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, was born.

But at the end of the year 1809, the only event anyone thought to be important was Napoleon’s conquest of Austria. That was the big news.

Today, who remembers the “big news” of 1809? Hardly anyone. Napoleon’s conquest is just a tiny blip on the big screen of history. But the world was changed forever by a few seemingly insignificant births which took place that same year.

Where to Take It from Here...

The year Jesus was born, most people missed it. Only a few were aware of the cosmic implications of his presence in a manger in Bethlehem.

And so it is with all of God’s work. Most of it is behind the scenes—hardly ever visible. It rarely make headlines; instead it makes a huge difference in the lives of people because it is eternal.

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