But now the “gossip chain” is in full force throughout the town. The young girl is pregnant! As if that isn’t bad enough, the father is not the fiancé! Disgrace is upon her, her family, and her promised husband.
Remarks are being heard such as “How can she take care of a baby? She’s much too young.” “I bet the engagement is off now. She’ll be all alone. How will she provide for the child?” “Maybe she should get rid of the baby. She can’t afford it. She can’t take care of it. She won’t have a man to help her.” “Yeah, an abortion would be the best route for everyone.”
Such words and thoughts would likely be common place in 2008. I can almost visualize her parents secretly driving their young daughter to the local Planned Parenthood clinic for a referral (and maybe a voucher) to an abortion clinic. Or, perhaps the daughter runs away on her own to “take care of the problem.” Many in our country would think nothing of it and, in fact, agree wholeheartedly with her actions.
But, when we relocate this story to Nazareth in the Middle East, reposition it in time to 6 B.C., and attach the names of Mary and Joseph to the engaged couple, most of us see things in a different light. Mary was well aware who the father of her child was: the Lord God Himself! Joseph, initially deciding to divorce (break off the engagement) quietly to avoid shame falling on Mary, was convinced by God not to do so. But no one discussed abortion because all knew the unborn child was just that, a child. It was not a fetus but a baby. No matter how difficult the situation was going to be, the baby would be born. Praise God that was the case. If Mary had become pregnant under similar circumstances in the United States these days, the outcome may have been different.
Certainly the birth of Christ gives solid Scriptural support against the notion of abortion. Even before Jesus is conceived in Mary’s womb, the angel makes this clear. Gabriel announces to her “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The word “son” is the direct object of both future tense verbs “will conceive” and “bear”. The conception of Mary’s baby is a son, not an it.
Scientifically, we know today this is true. The child’s sex is determined at the moment of conception. At that moment, you know the species and the sex. In Mary’s case the new offspring will be a human male. Despite the fact the conception begins with one cell, the result of that conception is finalized: human male. No matter its appearance, no matter how small, no matter it is within a woman’s womb, conception has resulted in a new human life.
For over 35 years in this country we have given people the right to kill this life at any point prior to its actual birth. Somehow we believe by doing so we are helping the expectant mother. Maybe so but at what cost? We are killing a human life no matter at what point during the pregnancy the abortion is performed.
The birth of Jesus is a testimony to the sanctity of human life. Jesus WAS a male child at the moment Mary conceived. Praise God she never considered or pursued a pro-death solution.