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The celebration of Christmas and the coming New Year are perfect times to reconnect with loved ones and reconsider our priorities. Amidst the festive spirit and celebrations, we build some powerful and beautiful memories during the holidays -- such as the magical moments spent with a younger child relative, or a conversation with an elderly family member talking of times long past. We turn away from ordinary, everyday routines – the daily grind – and experience special moments that enrich and refresh us.
At Christmas we recall how God, who is so powerful and kingly, decided to make himself present among us by coming as a vulnerable baby, born in poverty. This humble arrival, so gentle and hopeful, only makes it easier for us to see the very tender aspect of God -- for who can fear a baby? He enters the world precisely as a baby to draw us closer to him. God, in a sense, "stoops" to humanity by becoming one of us, and in the process he elevates all of humanity.
If God draws us to him with love, and not through guilt or compulsion, how important it is that we, too, should witness to our faith in the same manner. How important this is in building up a culture of life! As many of us approach the New Year with resolutions, this seems an appropriate time to consider our pro-life witness in the light of charity.
One aspect of contributing to a culture of life is to cultivate a pro-life attitude. In addition to important efforts like ministry outside of abortion facilities, writing Congress to express our views on legislation, and prayer activities on behalf of life, it is so very important to cultivate an internal perspective which animates all these other efforts.What do I mean by cultivating a "pro-life attitude"? I am referring to a disposition which actively and consciously seeks to reaffirm the dignity of every person we encounter.
It means making an effort to see people as God sees them. To help someone realize the good he has when he can't see it himself. To take time to acknowledge another person's presence and worth in a competitive, utilitarian, and electronically-saturated society. To engage an opponent peacefully and with courtesy. By affirming the same nobility in others that Christ affirms in us, through his humble and majestic presence in this world, we can help to change the culture.
What better time than Christmas and the New Year to renew our pro-life convictions and to look forward to our efforts with renewed hope! As the Christ-child wins hearts and touches souls with the greatest simplicity, let us resolve to give a pro-life witness which conveys reverence and respect for others. The sacredness of human life should be recognized from the moment of conception to natural death, and in every human face, beginning with the faces we encounter every day.
Kimberly Baker is a staff assistant for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on the bishops' pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.
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