(This is a revised version of an article first published in a monthly newsletter of CareNet Pregnancy Center and Medical Clinic © December 1995)
In the Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, the first verse stars out with a positive note, but as the verses progress, the author grows discouraged with the condition of the world. However, the final words are ones of triumph and rejoicing. This Christmas carol reminds me of a book in the Old Testament of the Bible called Habakkuk, which starts with the current gloom and destruction surrounding the prophet but later ends with words of comfort and hope.
This article is one that goes along the same line of thought. Bear with me, for it too will end with: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep… the wrong shall fail, the right prevail…”
The more I know about abortion, the more my heart grieves not only for unborn babies but the women and mothers burdened by situations with seemingly no way out. Bruised, wounded, broken women. Life snuffed out. Life killed — both women and babies!
I had trouble sometimes sleeping at night during the times I taught crisis intervention counselor training or when I discussed the various types of abortion procedures. I have vivid pictures in my mind of pieces of aborted babies from D & C’s and suction abortions. I have vivid pictures in my mind of burned babies from Saline abortions, I have a very vivid picture in my mind of the Partial Birth (D & X) abortions and scissors puncturing a baby’s head and brains being sucked out, and the skull collapsing. The unheard cries of terror, fear and pain of the unborn child. The unseen scars and wounds that women carry in the deepest recesses of their heart.
A woman, who was a former abortion clinic worker and had routinely examined the fetal tissue, one day while waiting for her pregnant daughter in our office who was receiving a free ultrasound, said to me, “I know for a fact that it is just tissue up to about 12 weeks.” She said, “there is nothing there but tissues, maybe a hand or foot but it’s just tissue. It’s not a baby yet, after 12 weeks it becomes a baby.”
“A hand… a foot… just tissue???” I thought, “how could she be so blind?” I thought about the conversation for the next several days. My thoughts kept going back to my brother, who died in a car accident.
I went to identify the body. Looking at the dead body, in a very real sense, it was no longer my brother. It was not the brother who I loved and adored. It was an empty shell, it was a dead body, it was just tissue.
I then understood. Looking at aborted babies is truly just tissue, by then death has occurred, the baby has gone on, thankfully, to be with the Lord. Of course it would look like just tissue after it was in pieces.
Death has a way of making us blind to reality. Corruption has a way of pulling a veil over our eyes. Evil has a way of making death seem so normal, so ordinary, “that’s life, that’s the way it goes.”
Satan and his pawns have been trying for centuries to pull the death veil over our eyes. Satan tried to kill the newborns and prevent Moses from being the deliverer of the people of Israel.
Satan tried to kill the infant Jesus, and hundreds of babies died as Herod went on his killing rampage.
Hitler killed thousands of Jews, elderly, handicapped and babies. Not to mention all the ethnic cleansing and other atrocities committed against another human being. Once upon a time, in the USA, people of color were not counted as a “whole” person.
Today, the killing continues. In many other countries in our current world, where humans can be “rated” as”less than” because of religion, class, caste, gender, race, or whatever the “powerful” declare as less than themselves or a threat to their ideas or status.
The death veil is now upon our elderly, our handicapped, the unwanted, the unlovable.
Society calls it just tissue.
The question comes back to me, “What is life?” Is it material things we can see or feel or touch? “What is life?” Jesus posed this question, “is not life more than the body, what we shall eat, drink or wear?”
What is so heinous about killing a person more than pulling a tooth, or removing our tonsils, isn’t it just tissue? We know that killing people already born is not just killing tissue. Words like “freedom of choice”, “right to privacy”, “my body, my rights”, are the death veil being pulled over our eyes, and we buy into the politically correct way of thinking that “this is life”.
NO!!! Life is not like that! Life is breathing, moving, loving, caring, touching, reaching. Life is reality. Life is living. Life is not just of flesh and blood.
Science tells us that when sperm meets egg, a human being has begun it’s journey of growing, changing and ultimately ends at death.
Science, however, cannot tell us when that mass of cells becomes a living soul, when it can think, when that mass of tissue has “life” with personality, character and compassion.
Our hearts would tell us when “life” begins if we would only listen. More than our hearts — the Bible tells us that God is the author of life and God has said that “life” begins at conception. Man becomes truly a living being at that miraculous moment… when sperm unites with egg…when the two become one… a new life is created in the image of our Creator.
Christmas is a time to remember the awesomeness of the miracle called conception.
The miracle of Christmas is the incarnation when God, Himself, became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word became flesh, in all ways, all of God, became fully human — the incarnate Christ, Jesus, fully God and fully man.
If he was not fully man at conception then, exactly who was John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb responding to when Mary entered their home. Was John, a 6 month old fetus, truly human or “just tissue”? Did John truly herald the arrival of his Lord and King? Elizabeth acknowledged the Lord’s presence, was she acknowledging only “tissue” or was this “tissue” the living Messiah?
The miracle of the incarnation is that Jesus was present in that room in the fullness of God and in the fullness of humanity. John a six-month old baby in the womb, not just tissue, was leaping for joy at the arrival of Jesus the Messiah.
Life was rejoicing over LIFE… NOT just tissue.
As you hear the bells this Christmas day, remember the incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, remember that His human life began before his birthday, it began in the womb at conception.
Remember that before the angels announced his birth, John the Baptist, still in his mother’s womb was announcing the arrival of Immanuel, God with us.
Then, may you also think about the millions of unborn babies yet to be born. The millions of women who need a support system of others reaching out in compassionate, active care. Millions of people in poverty, prejudice, and persecution needing to be recognized as human beings made in the image of God, worthy of “Life”.
Even as the shepherds were sharing the good news of Jesus’ birth and the wise men offered gifts, Satan tried to snuff out the life of the baby Jesus. Remember how Satan continues to try and snuff out lives today.
Our Lord is looking for this generation of shepherds to share the good news of Life, and God wants to use this generation of wise men to offer gifts and protection to those who have been given life.
Life is more than just tissue, more than just flesh and blood, more than the body. For this little baby, grew to be a man and poured out His blood and allowed His flesh to be crucified, killed and buried.
Then this man, Jesus, proved that He, alone, is the One who is worthy and has the power and the keys to life and death, because He conquered death and openly displayed that life is more than what we can see or touch.
Let us join with the angels, the shepherds, the wise men in sharing the good news that the Author of Life has come, Immanuel, God is with us, has dwelt among us, the Prince of peace, wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God is come to offer LIFE, LIFE ABUNDANT, LIFE ETERNAL.