With the holiday season in full-swing, gifts—and their respective buying, making, wrapping, giving, and receiving—are on the forefront of most of our minds. We get excited to give Christmas gifts that we purchased back on Black Friday and recall the donations we made on Giving Tuesday. We might spend time teaching children about the joy that comes from giving or how to graciously receive a mediocre gift. Christians emphasize the Greatest Gift during this season as well. Even further, we often reap the benefits of others using their gifts of creativity, hospitality, and music in a particular way this time of year. Many cherish the gift of being able to rekindle relationships with loved ones who they only see during the holidays. It is natural to recognize the gift of life both in our family and friends whom we are able to hold close and in the immeasurable ache we may experience for those who have passed and can no longer be with us. Spurred on by many people and moments during the most joyful time of the year, we are compelled to contemplate the gift of life in a unique way.
However, the gift of life is not as universally recognized in today’s culture as it might seem around the holidays. Our current culture sees life as precious when threatened by cancer, disease, persecution, war, systemic racism and violence, or many other tangible and non-tangible attacks—and rightly so—yet it fails to see children as the gifts that they are. This distortion denies the inherent goodness and beauty of each child and instead sees children as socially and personally disruptive, as burdens, and as problems to be eliminated rather than people to be received and loved. This is a great poverty.
Undoubtedly, this view of children is embodied by many who support abortion and, often from a place of truly misguided compassion for women in crisis, are blinded to the inherent goodness of a child in utero because of the circumstances of the mother. The real lack of cultural reverence for the dignifying labor of mothers in the care of their children also exacerbates hardships facing mothers experiencing unplanned pregnancies. This is evident from the lack of access many women have to prenatal care, lack of maternity and family leave for women, and the disapproval and stigma against women who are “just stay-at-home moms” or those who work full-time and have children. These realities make it all the more difficult and even painful for mothers to choose life and keep choosing it, for themselves and their children.
The question then is how can we who believe in the inherent goodness of life, shoulder the burdens of mothers and work to alleviate the real hardships of bringing life into the world so that mothers have the freedom to choose life? If we who profess to be pro-life walk with women in crisis every step of the way, fighting and advocating for their needs and the needs of their children, then innocent, beautiful babies may again be seen for the true gifts that they are.
This must be done both in everyday encounters we have with mothers and children in our communities and through the broader policies for which we advocate. We must seize every opportunity to affirm the gift that children are to help restore a culture that supports life—from conception through natural death.
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