From My Heart to Yours | December 2018
I have a Christmas riddle for you...Who was the first human to recognize Jesus for who He truly is? I have asked several people this question and heard answers like Mary, Simeon, Elizabeth, Joseph, the Wise Men, and even Gabriel (but of course, he is an Angel!). These are some good possibilities - but the answer may surprise you!
The first person to recognize Jesus for who He truly is was none other than a pre-born baby! That’s right...pre- born “baby John” leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb when pre-born “baby Jesus” was yet in Mary’s womb! And it was Elizabeth, John’s mother, who describes what occurred…
In Luke 1:41-44 we read, “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’”
When I heard someone remark on this on a broadcast last week my response was, “WOW!” I immediately saw the significance for each of us who believe in the Sanctity of Human Life. This passage, while filled with theological truths of various kinds, beckons us to see the distinct humanity of the pre-born child. Elizabeth recognizes this for sure... And so does Luke, the writer of this Gospel, himself a Physician.
I was so moved by this thought that I did a little research and came upon a sermon by John Piper. I will borrow a paragraph which sums up his thoughts pretty clearly,
What Luke is doing—and he is doing it as the spokesman of Christ—is treating this child in the womb as a person. He uses the word baby which he later uses for Jesus in the manger. He uses the word joy, which is what persons feel. He uses the phrase “filled with the Spirit” which is what God does to persons. He simply assumes he is dealing with a human person in the womb. And therefore so should we.
Amen! There is no doubt that John the Baptist was still John the Baptist while yet in Elizabeth’s womb...no less so than after he was born and was found eating locusts and honey and crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”
This story of John, like all who begin their eternal life in the womb, reveals a very important truth for us. This PRE-BORN baby had GREAT INFLUENCE. And that is precisely what caused my own, “Wow!” when I first heard this “Christmas riddle.” You see, here at Informed Choices, we see a similar kind of influence. Even before they are born, we see our patients’ babies cause mothers and fathers - and even whole families - to change for the good.
We have shared many stories in 2018 of parents whose hearts were softened and changed right in the midst of an ultrasound exam. Young men with stoic faces are suddenly in tears. Women who just moments before were saying, “There’s no way I can have this baby!” are suddenly asking about doctors and pre-natal vitamins. This is the influence of the pre-born child!
Of course, this influence does not end there. Some of our favorite stories are those of families drawn together and divisions overcome after the birth of a new baby, Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers...and sometimes aunts, uncles and cousins...are simply CHANGED when they see the REALITY of the life within. Sometimes only a brand new baby can soften hearts that have been heartened over time by hurts and sin and poor choices. Perhaps that is why Christ came to earth in bodily form as a baby…
Recently, Tina* stopped by the office and gave us permission to snap this photo of her little girl. Isn’t she precious?! I was drawn to her story as Debbie, our Nurse Manager, shared it with me. She told me that Tina said, “This baby has changed my life and that of my families so much!” At one time, Tina wanted to party and now she just wants to spend time with her kids. At one time, she was concerned about how her own mother would receive the news of her pregnancy, and instead her mother asked for the blessing of naming this baby. Best of all, Tina is making good choices for her family. This family has changed and grown closer to one another because of the influence of a BABY!
Dear friends, it is YOUR sacrificial giving that makes these stories a reality. Please enjoy more year-end photos on page two. Share them with YOUR families and pray for all the babies born in 2018 - and their families. And would you also consider a special year-end gift? We count on you to spread the influence of Informed Choices…one baby at a time!