Now more than ever, it’s vital to acknowledge the humanity of the preborn child. The abortion industry is fighting ferociously against the fall of Roe v. Wade, and has amped up its tactics of dehumanization against the most vulnerable humans among us. But today, at Christmas, we remember that God came to humanity as a baby — Jesus Christ — and how very clear the Bible makes it that all human beings, even while in the womb, are valuable to God.
Christians prepare for Christmas with the season of Advent, during which one of the most notable examples of preborn humanity is seen: the Visitation. According to the Gospel of Luke, Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, was pregnant with John the Baptist — and Mary was pregnant with the long-awaited Messiah. Mary traveled to visit Elizabeth:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in [Elizabeth’s] womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
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Joseph and Mary did not expect to be chosen to parent the Messiah, and Mary’s pregnancy came about in a most unexpected way. Joseph at first planned to quietly abandon his would-be wife, along with her child. But ultimately, Joseph said yes to this surprise as well, having been told by the Lord in a dream that he should take Mary as his wife — and that the baby in her womb was the promised Savior. Joseph and Mary chose to welcome that life — one with a destiny like no other.
While there is only one Christ, every child should be loved and wanted and welcomed. Even those who perhaps are conceived in less than expected or desired circumstances are still human beings, intrinsically valuable, made in the image of their Creator, and deserving of life. They are deserving of their chance to live and to make their mark on the world.
The Bible is repeatedly clear about the humanity of the preborn. With time, parents who are originally fearful and uncertain can have their fears allayed about parenthood. Or (as other Biblical accounts show) those parents can consider the blessing of choosing an adoptive family to raise that child.
As King David says in Psalm 139:
For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. My frame wasn’t hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Life is never guaranteed to be perfect, and children certainly don’t always wait for the perfect circumstances to arrive. But each and every child, regardless of whether they are preborn or born, deserves their most inherent right: the right to life. We simply must follow the example of Joseph and Mary — and even when we are most afraid, learn to say yes and trust that God has a plan, even if it was not what we were expecting.