I am, as you *may* have noticed if you’ve read my blog before, pro-life. I like to think I’m “strongly” pro-life, but there are many people out there who do a whole lot more than I do for the cause.
Anyways, it’s my sister-in-law’s birthday on Monday. The SIL who is voting for Obama and, from the very terse discussion we had, doesn’t think abortion is all that important.
Sort of like my brother, her husband, who said he was voting for Gore because he had good environmental ideas, and that’s important to my brother, who loves to hike and camp.
“Oh,” I said, “So you’re more of a save-the-baby-owls-kill-the-baby-humans kind of voter?”
“Oh, is Gore pro-choice?” he asked, disinterestedly. He’s an intelligent guy, but very blind when he doesn’t care about something. (This is also the guy who made a crack about, “Well, duh, like the pope isn’t Italian!” Um… that joke hasn’t worked for decades, because there hasn’t been an Italian pope since my brother was in diapers. So much for twelve years of CCD at the local parish.)
Anyways, back to my SIL’s birthday.
I informed the kids that Aunt X’s birthday is coming up, and they were going to get to draw her some birthday cards. They were thrilled. And this is what they drew:
“Um, what’s what here?” I asked, as I usually have to when surveying the latest art.
“Oh, that’s Aunt X and the baby in red, with Uncle X, grilling steaks at their house,” replied the oldest. (bottom picture)
“Yeah, and that’s Aunt X and the baby in her tummy in brown and Uncle X at their house, too,” replied middle child. (top picture)
Now, my neice will not be born until early next month. But, as we tell the kids, the baby is already there, inside Aunt X, so they figured they should draw her, too. I’m not completely sure how my SIL will take it.
(The youngest does not figure in this story, since she is still just fascinated by these cool sticks that make colored marks on paper, fingers, arms, tables, clothes, etc. Even if the marker makes it onto the paper, she isn’t interested in what the scribble represents… although she’s very vocal about having the “right” color and will not accept a substitute marker just because her big brother or sister really need the green right now, please.)
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; these are the kids who go up to pregnant women we know, put their faces up a few inches from the mom’s bellybutton, and yell, “Hi, baby!” No question there about what that is inside the womb; it’s a baby, he or she just isn’t quite ready to come out and get all their hair stroked off their head in a friendly fashion, yet.
(Sorry, Jen, oldest hadn’t learned this habit yet when she was two and pointed at your pregnant waistline and refused, with a very disapproving look, to give you your ice cream, since she obviously thought your tummy was already too full!)
The moms we know generally laugh and say, “Well, I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, although they do tell you the baby can hear some sounds in utero, so I guess that works…”
I figure the baby is already “here.” They do not suddenly arrive in our universe when they are born; they are already here weeks before their moms even know it. So we’ve always told the kids what’s going on when one of our friends is pregnant; I think they were the ones who drew the “logical” conclusion that, therefore, they should say, “Hi!” to the baby. Hey, it’s rude not to say “hi”, right?
I think it was Fr. Pavone from Priests for Life who said something in a homily about the feast of the Annunciation (Angel Gabriel is sent to Mary to ask her to be Jesus’ mother, she says yes, and conceives by the Holy Spirit) that really struck me. (my paraphrase; as usual, the quote was from several years ago and I don’t have it verbatim)
“Christmas is not the primary feast of the Incarnation, really. Traditionally, that’s how we’ve phrased it, but we need to re-think that. The real beginning of the Incarnation, the moment when God became man, was right here, at the Annunciation.
Jesus did not take on our human flesh at Bethlehem, he took it on at Nazareth.”
And so, when we do our Christmas nativity set-up, the baby Jesus is not hidden “up” somewhere in “Heaven”, he is hidden right under the extra “ground” fabric by the stable. He is not “up there”, He is already “here.” We just don’t see Him directly until Christmas.
My kids, thank God, get that at an intuitive level.
Would that we all saw so clearly.