Monday, December 14, 2009

The Pro-Life Implications of Christmas

A few years ago, Planned Parenthood sent out Christmas cards celebrating "Choice on Earth." In doing so, the largest abortion provider in America revealed a profound misunderstanding of biblical teaching and the significance of Christ's birth.

Under the Law of Moses, pre-born children received legal protection (Exodus 21:22-25). They were protected because it was recognized that children were formed by the Lord within the wombs of their mothers (Psalm 139:13-16). As children made in the image of God, they were given the respect and legal protections due to all human beings.

The humanity of pre-born children was further demonstrated in this portion of the Christmas account:

"In those days (after Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of God's Son) Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:39-45, English Standard Version).

At least two pro-life points are apparent within this passage:

1. During the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy (Luke 1:36), Elizabeth's pre-born son was moving and expressing emotions. Obviously, he was a human being who was different from his mother even though he depended on her nurturing for survival.

2. In addition, Mary was called "the mother of my Lord" very early in her pregnancy, a time when Jesus would have been a developing embryo within his mother. Mary did not need to wait until her Son was born; everyone knew that she was a mother long before Jesus was born.

Although Planned Parenthood celebrates "choice" as the ultimate value, the saints of the Bible upheld right choices as far more important than the mere ability to choose. Joseph and Mary chose to protect and to nurture their Son. They chose to risk their lives for him. They chose to look as if they were guilty of sexual impurity in order to care for Jesus, risking ostracism within their religious community for the sake of their Son.

On the other hand, King Herod chose to kill the little boys of Bethlehem in order to protect his standard of living. He wanted to eliminate any threat that a child would pose to his position in society.

Herod made the wrong choice. Joseph and Mary made the right choice. One was condemned. The other two were blessed.

"Choice on Earth" is not worthy of praise. However, selfless, compassionate, and noble choices on behalf of children are worthy of a celebration. Those are the pro-life implications of Christmas.

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