Some time back, I saw one of those social media posts that make you smile or cringe, depending on who you are.
Called “The top 10 reasons liberal atheists don’t like the holidays,” the list included things like “Christmas lights waste electricity” and “The pilgrims and Indians gave thanks to Whom?”
The list, which I did not know if it were serious or silly, did end on a very somber note. It said they don’t like the holidays because “Christmas celebrates a birth, not an abortion.”
The point, which of course could have been stated with more grace, was potent. At Christmas, we do celebrate a birth—the Birth of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God—and glory in the story told in Scripture.
The birth narrative of Jesus reminds us that Herod tried to kill the Christ child, and likewise we live in an age that devalues human life in the womb. We hear terms like “fetus” or even “products of conception” to talk about the unborn.
In looking closely at the New Testament passages, one scholar focused on the word for “baby.” In the Luke birth narrative account, the “babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) and “the babe leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41) share the same term—brephos. In other words, there is no distinction between a baby in the womb and the baby in the manger.
Once again, Christmas serves as the ultimate reminder of the value of all human life—including the unborn. Yet there is another time that has made its way onto the church calendar in which we remember the value of human life.
It is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, which is set for Jan. 20, 2019. Since 1984, people of faith across the country have chosen to emphasize the Scriptural teaching of the sanctity of human life on this occasion.
From sermons to prayers to Scripture readings, this Sunday has provided an annual reminder that the tragedy of human abortion continues in America, and that God’s people are called to uphold the value and dignity of every human life.
Thanks to leaders with Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, there are several new resources that churches can use in the upcoming Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. From a powerful new video that depicts the miracle of life in the womb to a preaching guide to printable bulletin inserts, these materials are first class and can be accessed at no cost at www.bgco.org/shls.
We all know that abortion is an uncomfortable topic, but it is necessary to address. It is also worth it. In fact, we have heard impactful stories from Sanctity of Human Life Sunday right here in Oklahoma.
Paula, who attended an Oklahoma Baptist church on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, had been carrying the guilt of her abortion for decades. Yet it was through this Sunday that God ultimately helped her find forgiveness and restoration that may not have come if the church ignored the issue. We also know of specific mothers who were facing an unintended pregnancy that ultimately chose life, because a pastor was faithful to teach them the value of life in the womb.
This Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, pastors and churches across our state ought to take part in this Sunday emphasis, and to do so in a gracious and truthful way. The same kind of grace and truth with which the Baby in the manger came (John 1:17).