Birthing Christ into the World

The day after Christmas we get the martyrdom of Stephen and today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Today’s feast reminds us of the world into which Jesus was born – a world of suffering and sin – a world desperately in need of the peace Jesus offers. Jesus’ world is our world. A world in which innocent young children shot to death in their school. A world in which civilians are killed in drone attacks. A world in which the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The examples of suffering are endless. In the words of Henri Nouwen:

We live in a world groaning under its losses: the merciless wars destroying people and their countries, the hunger and starvation decimating whole populations, crime and violence holding millions of men, women and children in fear. Cancer and AIDS, cholera, malaria, and many other diseases devastating the bodies of countless people;…it’s the story of everyday life filing the newspapers and television screens. It is a world of endless losses.

We live in a world that desperately needs Christ. And today the Christ child comes, not wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, but through us. Meister Eckhart wrote

What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son is I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.

Even now – so many years after the birth, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus – the question remains for each of us: Will you help give birth to Christ in your time and culture? Will you infuse the world with Christ’s presence? We don’t answer those questions merely by singing beautiful carols around the creche. The feast we celebrate today reminds us that the world needs more from us.

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4 thoughts on “Birthing Christ into the World

  1. This feast day reminds me, in a special way, of the innocent lives slaughtered in the thousands per day in the US alone through abortion. In contrast to the things that make the newspaper, as described in your quote from H. Nouwen, one of the saddest commentaries on our society is the fact that the thousands of innocents slaughtered everyday does NOT make the newspaper. What does that say about us?

  2. Will God’s Kingdom ever ‘Come’ if ‘we’ continue to proclaim every woman who has had an abortion (young and often immature to learned and accomplished) did not struggle with her (their) decision and that she has a heart of stone and maliciously “slaughtered” her (their) unborn without any regret of conscious?

    “. . . the world needs more from us.”

  3. Dear Christine, I agree with you that women who have had abortions should be treated with the utmost compassion. Our hearts should go out to them, and we should pray for healing. My point is that the Feast of the Holy Innocents should remind us, in a special way, to pray for the innocents that are killed in abortion clinics, and to consider whether the fact that this tragedy does not receive coverage in the newspaper is leading us to more tragedy. For example, I wonder how many women who struggled with a decision to have an abortion were lied to and manipulated by the abortion industry, by being told that the fetus was nothing more than a blob of tissue. Consider if there was more coverage in the newspaper, better education (e.g., through ultrasounds and the viewing of the exposed Planned Parenthood videos), and woman were told the actual truth, maybe this decision would not be such a struggle – mothers would learn about the humanity of the fetus and about the help (financial and otherwise) that church-sponsored crisis pregnancy centers will provide.

  4. Dear Julie,

    Thank you so much for compassionately and passionately touching on both sides of this very contentious issue concerning life. Often both sides, ‘Choice’ and ‘Right to Life’ distort the ‘truth’ to their advantage.

    ‘Choice’ seeking all legal avenues of re-imbursement for their business model under the umbrella of, ‘it’s constitutionally legal.’

    ‘Right to Life’ tarnishing the efforts of the many (who through prayer, contribution and peaceful activism wish to limit abortion to the most serious of health conditions) with ‘gotcha secret videos edited to distort and promote their point of view and/ or religious beliefs.

    I know of a number of young single moms (both of faith and of no organized faith) who gave birth out of wedlock, took ownership (as best they could) of their lives, struggled to raise their child, further educate themselves. sustained from sexual relationships for a couple of years or more and eventual loneliness found them seeking comfort in the bed of another – thank goodness birth control often prevented further pregnancies. The journey of life will never be ‘cookie cutter’ perfect, and yet especially youthful discretions should not condemn one to life long suffering – We, as a society, need to offer ‘some’ comfort and ‘endless’ hope with our admonishments. . .

    As a society many are their to support and encourage carrying conception through birth – beyond birth, present day society has a rather checkered history of no longer wishing to advocate for healthy growth and development (let alone ‘see those children’) of the lives they fought so tirelessly to be born.

    Many in the lower economic spectrum of society often feel trapped and sexual relationships provide temporary comfort and escapism, which can lead to abortions of convenience which often leave life long emotional scars – while many of means embrace abortion as a method of contraception wishing not to diminish their personal (and sexual) freedoms. . .

    Add in the violence against doctors and providers of abortion care and we remain faced with an issue that is very troubling – an issue that will most likely only improve for all involved, mothers, husbands, partners, new life and the unborn when both sides come together and work towards a true and healthy respect of ALL life. . .

    Julie, blessings, grace and thank you once again for your compassionate concern for life. . .

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