Christmas is universal. “Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…A Saviour has been born for you” (Luke 1:10-11).
Christ the Saviour becomes man precisely for all who share human nature. He excludes nobody. The good news of Christmas is for all people of all times and places. “Joy to the world.”
In fact, so universal is this joy, that even nature shares in it: “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them” (Isaiah 11:6). All of this leads to an inescapable conclusion: Christmas is also for the unborn. The Saviour has come also for the children yet living in their mothers’ wombs. The Gospel message is addressed also to our youngest brothers and sisters.
In fact, we can say it is addressed especially to them, because they are the most helpless.
That good news was announced first precisely to the lowly, not to the great and powerful. The ministry of the One who was born for us continued to follow that pattern: He consistently sought out those who were on the outskirts of society.
His Church does the same today, taking a preferential option for the poor. The “poor” are not simply those deprived of material goods. “This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond—unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, and victims of injustice and oppression” (US Bishops, Faithful Citizenship, 2007).
To welcome the Saviour means to welcome the obligations which His mission places on us. He is, in the words of the Prophets, one who will establish “justice” on the earth. In Biblical terms, this indicates He will intervene for the helpless, bringing deliverance to those held in bondage.
That’s all of us, of course, subject to the bondage of sin and death, unable to save ourselves.
But it’s especially our brothers and sisters in the womb, subject to the additional bondage of a Court decision that said, “The word person…does not include the unborn.” (Roe vs. Wade, 1973).
In the beautiful Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night,” we sing these words. “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love, and His Gospel is Peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in His Name all oppression shall cease.”
Pope Benedict XVI has taught that “love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to [the Church] as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 22). Our Christmas cannot be complete until we join in the great effort to end the oppression of the unborn once and for all, and let them hear that for them, too, a Saviour has been born.