There’s just not that much good news in the world today. It seems that every time you turn on the TV or listen to the radio (people still listen to the radio, right?), the airwaves are flooded with tales of sadness and suffering. There is political turmoil in Egypt, the city of Detroit has declared bankruptcy, and another earthquake has ravaged China.
Naturally, then, when a spark of good manages to make its way through all the muck, people are bound to get excited. Such is the case with the buzz around the “royal baby.” A media frenzy has erupted around the birth of Kate and William’s first child, complete with round-the-clock baby watches and memorabilia galore. From special donuts and hotel rooms to iPod cases and homemade mugs, the profit from products based on the royal baby is set to net Britain close to $400 million.
But why do we care? Why does this baby, an ocean away and only just born, mean so much to us? The answer is hope.
A year ago, the story dominating the news was not one of hope; it was one of tragedy, focused on the deaths of 12 people (and the injuries of many more) in a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The entire event seemed to showcase hopelessness, as even the film being shown when the shooting occurred, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, illustrated the ways that hope could be perverted into a weapon.
Yet life continued to mirror art in the aftermath, for just as the movie’s heroes took the weaponized hope and replaced it with the real thing, so too did we see examples of kindness, charity, and compassion after the tragedy in Aurora. Christian Bale, the movie’s star, visited victims in the hospital. People erected memorials of all kinds. And just a few days ago, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting, two survivors of the attack were married, hoping to turn memories of the date from tragic to inspirational. That is the victory of hope in the dark.
That, too, is why the royal baby has become such a cultural focus as of late — because the child is an example of goodness and hope dominating the news cycle. We as a nation (and as a world) can celebrate something good rather than only react to something terrible. Hope is what motivates us — the belief that even in spite of all the horrid things we see and hear about, new life can spring up. It keeps people pressing onward. And, if only in a small way, the birth of the latest royal could be the hope that fuels someone to be a better person. Even if it only inspires a good deed or two, or something as small as a way for people to connect with each other in a positive way, isn’t that better than being bombarded with misery and woe?
So, don’t be embarrassed that you’ve been incessantly stalking a child who has barely seen the light of day. Continue on with propping your Kate and Will life-size cardboard cutout next to you. And keep checking that website dedicated to every piece of clothing Kate Middleton has ever worn, so that your Halloween costume is both realistic and trendy. Because good news isn’t always easy to come by, and a baby is a miracle forever worth rejoicing over. (Especially when a pint-sized crown is involved.) There is no shame in helping the royal family celebrate their little bundle of joy. Here’s to one frenzy that we should embrace with all the gusto and weird novelty items we can manage. No matter how emotionally draining, and exceedingly odd, the celebrating gets, give thanks that there is something beautiful to celebrate. Every small miracle is God’s way of letting us know that we are loved and that everything is going to be alright. God bless Kate and William as they embrace the delights of new parenthood, and remember that anything with their face plastered on it could be worth something someday.