Christmas often makes us think of those around us. We use gifts to celebrate those close to us and those that mean the most to us. We look forward to spending time with people we love and reuniting with family members we haven’t seen in some time. Christmas also makes us think backward. We grow nostalgic for lost innocence and for the simple joys of our youth and of Christmas past. We remember and memorialize those who we have lost and those who cannot be with us.
Christmas is a celebration of people, relationships, and love. As a Christian, Christmas is a celebration of Christ, our relationship with Him, and His love for us. In other words, Christmas is a celebration of life. This December, consider Christmas as the superlative pro-life holiday.
Consider Mary, who willingly submitted to the angel’s proclamation. Luke 1:38 tells us, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word…” While the angel had to reassure Mary and encourage her not to fear, she would still face immense social pressure and potential stoning according to Jewish law. At the very least, she would have been an outcast. In our time, every day, 3,322 women give in to that fear and choose to have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute—and disturbingly, 64 percent of them are Protestants or Catholics. Many women today choose fear.
Instead of fear, Mary chose life. She chose to obey the still small voice of God instead of listening to the many loud voices of the pressure of society or the strong voice of the fear of death. Her trust in God is reminiscent of the statement that Job makes in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” She put the life of the Messiah ahead of her own fear.
Consider Joseph, who had every right to shame Mary for the baby in her womb. As her betrothed, it was now his right to deal with Mary as a father would. He had the right to have her executed so that his name would not be implicated in a pregnancy out of wedlock. Even though Joseph had not accepted his role as a father, he still was considering the choice of life. Matthew 1:19 tells us, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.” He was already planning on making life a priority before the angel ever came to him. However, the angel stepped in to show Joseph not only the priority of human life but the importance of his role as a father.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 million children, 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. (2021) Joseph also chose to ignore what could have been incredibly critical voices in society about his role. Imagine the pressure of raising Jesus as his own son, knowing who His father really was. Still, Joseph knew the importance of the prophesied Messiah and the weight of the command of God. He raised the Son of God as his own, instilling in Him character and tradition. Joseph chose life over fear.
Consider God the Father, who knew that humanity had no chance for eternal life without divine intervention. His plan, made before the foundation of the world, was that the Lamb would be slain for us, to paraphrase Revelation 13:8. God chose life for us before we could even choose life for ourselves. Galatians 4:4-5 says, But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
God had a plan, fulfilled by Christ, to choose life. A just and holy God did not have to offer a way for humanity to be quickened from our sinful death into life everlasting. We are utterly undeserving of such a magnanimous gift, which is why we celebrate so richly and fully at Christmas. We realize that the opportunity for life and eternity in a relationship with the Father of all was wrapped in a tiny, precious baby that no one expected.
This Christmas, take some time to appreciate the value of life. When you read the story of Christ’s miraculous birth, consider how all parties involved chose life, which was a very difficult choice for them at the time. Meditate on how we can have eternal life through the choice of God the Father, and how that life was so precious that He sent His own Son away, not just down to be with humanity, but to be murdered by them so that all may have life.
As a people who are dead in trespasses in sins (Eph 2:1), we need a God who values life to quicken us and give us life in Him. The gift we celebrate at Christmas is that eternal life can be ours through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. If you have never been made alive spiritually, now is the time to believe in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His shed blood for the remission of your sins.
May your Christmas be full of joy, peace, and the love of Christ. May your Christmas be full of the celebration of life.
Submitted by Pastor Dean Noonan, Sr.
Faith Baptist Church, Oak Creek, WI
BFLW Board Member