Christmas is a special time for us all. Time with family and friends–for hot chocolate and mistletoe. A time for joy and gift-giving.
And a time to reflect.
While Christmas itself is the celebration of new life, there’s a conflict at the heart of the Bethlehem narrative. A decree from the Caesar Augustus set Mary and Joseph on their path to the birth in a stable manger, foreshadowing the tragedy and triumph of Good Friday and Easter. The entire Christmas story as we’re told in Matthew, sets up the great struggle between life and death that underlies the mission to which we have been called.
The very foundation of this time of year is to celebrate the birth of a small baby. That baby, whose birth was heralded by angels, was at risk of being slain from the beginning. In Matthew 2:16-18, it says,
“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.’”
The birth of a baby. That remarkable event that tells us that God values and ordains Life in a way that is beyond our human understanding. Juxtaposed against the death of children. Similarly beyond our reason. “Today I set before you life and death.” Rachel is still weeping for her children. Built into the very fabric of the Christmas story is the tragic death of small children. It reminds me that there are women who mourn, and unborn children who will never experience the blessings of this season.
This last week my church had the children’s choir sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Seeing those beautiful children sing Handel’s majestic music was deeply moving. It is such a work of lamentation and victory woven together. Just as the Christmas story itself.
Who is this King of Glory? He is the King of Glory.
Let us take the time this week for joy. To celebrate life. In the new year, we turn to recognizing the women who weep and mourn with the launch of our Women’s Protection Project. I am heartened by each of you who have come alongside Americans United for Life (AUL) this year, and hopeful for all of the women and precious babies whose lives have been saved because of your support. We live in a world of darkness and light. But even in the shadow of death, we still see a great light. . .
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto Us a Child is born, unto Us a Son is given: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Warmest Christmas wishes,
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Americans United for Life