It’s that time of year again. The season children look forward to all year. The only season I know of with it’s own genre of music. It’s almost Christmas, and it’s time to celebrate the way all Christians do. So get out there, bring a tree or some other form of shrubbery into your home, and find a way to honor an unwed teenage mother.
Wait, you don’t celebrate unwed teenage mothers at Christmas? Have you not heard the story? Let me refresh your memory.
A couple thousand years ago a girl, not a woman by today’s standards but a young, probably barely teenage girl found out she was pregnant. As she was not married at the time this probably could have presented a problem. Luckily, the man she was engaged to decided to take care of a child that wasn’t his. None of the neighbors would have blamed him if he had walked away.
Something tells me there was probably talk. Not the nice kind. The kind people do when they are trying to feel better about themselves by belittling others.
Fast forward 2,000 years. The baby of this unwed teen has inspired one of the largest religions on the planet. This baby grew into a man who preached love, compassion, and taking care of each other. His current followers, however, are too busy obsessing over the exact order of the end of their planet and exactly who gets a “get out of hell free” card to really listen much. Worse, we shame and humiliate the very type of person who gave us this savior in the first place.
We give teen moms disapproving looks and come up with horrible names for their children. Ironically enough, one rhymes with “pastor”. We nudge our children and point out how “You do NOT want to end up like that. She ruined her life.” And if she is sensitive to our words, or scared, and decides to take advantage of a way to make it all just go away, well, then we crucify her. All while on our way to church. To worship the child of an unwed teen.
I think you’re seeing the problem here.
Once we get to church, we break off into our groups to gossip about whose daughter is now pregnant, or better yet to go picket clinics and yell horrible things at young girls who are probably already depressed, ashamed, and hopeless. We call this being pro-life. This is not pro-life. This is anti-abortion.
Pro-life is the family who provides a safe temporary home to a cute child, who they would love to call their own, and then gives the child back, knowing that giving the child back to a healthy, stable mother is the very best thing for that child.
Pro-life is the woman who provides free or unbelievably low cost child care to women in her town who are trying to get back on their feet after an unexpected pregnancy or divorce. Even if that care is needed during the night shift.
Pro-life is the man who marries the woman who already has three children that are not his, and then puts all three children through college and tells everyone how proud he is of his kids.
Pro-life is the mother who throws her fifteen year old daughter a baby shower and squeals and giggles with delight in front of all of her friends, while secretly crying herself to sleep, terrified of what this cold world will do to her daughter, and now her granddaughter.
Pro-life is the doctor who travels to third world countries, treating sick children with his own money, because it’s the only way he knows to ease some of the suffering in the world.
Pro-life is the father who demands his son show respect to all women, regardless of their choices in life.
Pro-life is the college student holding the hand of her weeping friend, saying “It’s going to be alright. I know you’re scared, but I’m here for you, no matter what decision you make.”
Pro-life is the eighteen year old boy who works two jobs so that he can pay decent child support.
Pro-life is the child who chooses to have their birthday party at a place where they can pack meals for children in countries suffering from famine.
Pro-life is the couple who sneaks around walmart sticking twenty dollar bills in packages of diapers, trusting that the money will do more good than they will ever see.
Pro-life is the teacher who stays late work with children who would otherwise go home to an empty house.
I know all of these pro-life people. Not all of them are anti-abortion, but every one of them is more pro-life than any picketer. These people know that no law will make abortion just go away. Abortion will be decrease dramatically when women feel respected, supported, and honored. When our society no longer stands for the shaming of women over their reproductive systems, and can be confident that every child born will be guaranteed to have all basic needs met, abortion will rarely be seen as necessary.
This year I would encourage you to follow the example that the previously mentioned people have set. I would challenge you to remember how Christmas really started, and honor that one brave, pregnant, unwed teen by serving another brave, unwed, teen mother. Quick! Before you forget! Change the world!