Ben Johnson


This Christmas remember: to protect the unborn is a holy calling

Ben Johnson

December 23, 2011 ( – In many ways, life is a series of progressively deepening revelations. Like a drop of rainwater beneath a high-powered microscope, phenomena we have experienced many times over are found to have a greater significance when we bring them under the lens of mature scrutiny. Christmas is a perfect example.

As children, we believed Christmas was about Santa and presents. All year we waited in anticipation to sing “fa-la-la-la-la,” get a week off school, and hope the striped metallic wrapping paper and ribbon hid the material gifts we coveted. Later, we came to value the company of family and the occasion to celebrate cherished traditions.

As we matured spiritually, we learned Christmas is about the birth of Christ, the incarnation of the Second Person of the Godhead. In the swaddled Babe of Bethlehem, the glory of the Holy Trinity married humanity so that the two natures were joined together with “no confusion, no change, no division, no separation” (Dogmatic Definition of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D.). In the humble, hidden mystery of the Christ Child, the light of God illumined the essence of mankind more dazzlingly than the blazing star in the East lit the night sky long ago.

Christmas is the feast of life: the gift of man’s redemption presented in a Man’s body. The instrument of corruption became the instrument of healing; the mortal put on immortality; and a species inclining ever closer to death was filled with an imperishable vitality.

This revelation is more than a pious platitude or a pleasant diversion from mankind’s mean lot. It signifies the value and significance of every human life. Our efforts to save the unborn are not so they may endure but a few years of earthly life that are, in the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ words, “nasty, brutish, and short.” They are acts of love and reconciliation to allow each human being an opportunity to realize the divine life offered him in Christ.

This goal, this holy calling, can only be adequately undertaken when we cleave to the sacred imprint within our own hearts, uniting them with God’s grace and restraining the corrupting influences of the fallen world from smothering the light seeking to break forth.

May this holiday inspire all of us to nurture life, without and within.

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