A baby was most definitely not in her plans. Not like this, anyway.
What about her future? She was just a teenager. Still a girl. How would she explain this to her family? Would they understand? Would they believe her?
How would she explain this to him? She couldn’t hide it forever. And he would know the baby wasn’t his. Would he believe that she hadn’t done what all evidence said she had done?
This baby was going to change everything.
An Unplanned Pregnancy Changes Everything
Although we can’t know for sure, this young girl probably asked the same panic-filled questions that many women ask when learning they are unexpectedly pregnant. There was one thing that set this teenager apart, however.
She’d never been with a man. Not once.
You guessed it. We’re talking about Mary, the virgin who supernaturally conceived and gave birth to a son named Jesus. And not only did this child change everything about Mary’s life, he also changed the world.
Same Old Story Again?
You knew we couldn’t resist. After all, it is the week leading up to Christmas day, and we are a faith-based organization. So naturally, we can’t help but take some time to dwell on the narrative in the Bible about the first ever Christmas.
I’ve heard the Christmas story at least 243,592 times, more or less. I know it pretty well. And I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’ve played the role of Mary at least as many times in a variety of productions. (Evidently when your real name is Mary, people assume it’s your destiny to don robes and gaze into the face of a blond-haired blue-eyed baby doll every Christmas for your entire life. The struggle is real.)
Maybe you’re like me and you could recite this story in your sleep. Maybe you’re about to stop reading because you don’t want to read something you’ve read all about before.
But I’m asking you to hang on just a minute; to put yourself in the shoes of Mary, a teenage mom-to-be, and consider the choice she faced so many years ago.
In North Carolina, abortion is legal for virtually any reason up to twenty weeks of pregnancy. The pro-choice culture of today has been fighting to change the perception of abortion. The goal used to be to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” Now, however, the goal isn’t so much to minimize the perceived need for abortion as it is to normalize it. Campaigns such as the #ShoutYourAbortion movement are encouraging women to not only not be afraid to talk about their abortions, but to even be proud of it, viewing it as a way to exert one’s reproductive rights and freedom.
More than 3,000 abortions take place each day. And for many people, this statistic is not worth batting an eye.
But I think what’s important to remember is the fact that abortion has been around for a long time. The procedures and methods by which a life is ended within the womb may have “evolved” over the years, but the practice is not new. Instances of abortion and infanticide are recorded even in the biblical record.
What Would You Have Done?
So again, place yourselves in the shoes of Mary:
You’ve just found out you’re pregnant. You’re engaged to be married. Your fiance is not the father. You know the truth: that you’ve never been with a man. You’ve been visited by an angel who says you’ve supernaturally conceived. And this child you carry won’t be just any child. This little boy will be the Savior of the whole world.
You’ve got to break the news to your fiance and your family. You live in a time when women can be stoned to death for unfaithfulness. You could be disowned by your family, a complete outcast. Any plans you have for your future just changed dramatically. And your story, although true, sounds more like a desperate attempt from a crazed mind to avoid responsibility and punishment.
Let’s be real. Most of Mary’s scenario (minus the whole visited-by-an-angel-and-supernaturally-conceiving thing) is not so different from the scenarios of young mothers-to-be today. And many might have even argued that Mary had plenty of good reasons to abort her child.
After all, it was going to alter her lifestyle drastically. And not just in a “this is inconveniencing me” kind of way. But in an “I could be killed for this” kind of way.
It could be argued that Mary had even more reasons to abort than most women who choose abortion today. After all, the majority of abortions that take place today are not because the mother’s life is threatened, but because the unborn life presents some kind of inconvenience.
A Choice that Changed the World
I think we have to be careful of posing hypotheticals such as “what if Mary had chosen to abort.” The reality is, God in his sovereignty planned for Mary to be the conduit for bringing the long-awaited Savior into the world. So to say that the salvation of humanity hinged on Mary’s decision would be, I believe, incorrect.
But I do believe it speaks volumes about God that he chose to use an unplanned pregnancy to fulfil his promise to restore mankind to himself. Let’s be honest, unwed mothers are not exactly celebrated in the same way that married mothers are, most especially by the church. It carries with it a certain stigma, embarrassment, and shame.
The King of the world was coming to rescue all people from their sins. God himself was coming to earth. What possible reason would God have for entering the womb of a teenager for nine months only to be born in a dirty stable to a mom and adoptive dad who likely had no idea what they were doing?
Every Life Matters
Scripture reveals to us many details about God, one of those being that he often uses people and means that we’d least expect. 1 Corinthians 1:27 and 28 says that God chose the weak, despised, and lowly things of the world to shame the strong so that the only one deserving of praise, attention, and glory would be God himself.
The biblical narrative is sprinkled with accounts of God using murderers, liars, the disabled, adulterers, prostitutes, tax collectors, children, the elderly, and so many others who are often labeled as “weak” or “lowly” or “despised” by the world. He used all these people to accomplish his purposes and to make his name great.
So how incredible is it that God chose an unwed mother (someone the world would label “despised”) to carry an unborn child (what the world labels “weak” and “lowly”) in order to reconcile mankind to himself?
The fact that the God of the universe would choose such a humble method of saving the world tells me that all little lives matter. That he would wrap his Son within the safety of a young woman’s womb tells me that Mary mattered, regardless of what society might have said about her.
I can’t fathom the kind of love God displayed when he willingly sent his son to earth as a sacrifice to save mankind. It says so much about God that he placed what was most precious to him in what should be the safest place for a human on earth: a mother’s womb.
What Every Mother-to-Be Needs
I’ve heard the Christmas story many times, but the details of the story never impacted me so greatly until I became immersed in the work of a pregnancy center. Seeing the faces and hearing the stories of so many women who are scared and unsure if their pregnancy carries any meaning or purpose has shown me that, wow, Mary was a real person in a real crisis.
And she needed more than just a maternity housing referral and a few baby items.
She needed the hope of unconditional love and support and the reminder that what she carried was precious and of immeasurable worth.
And isn’t that what all mothers-to-be need?
If the Author of Life values young mothers and the unborn and life at all other stages, then shouldn’t we, too?
As We Celebrate
As you prepare to celebrate Christmas this weekend, our hope is that you’ll take some time to go back to that very first Christmas and empathize with Mary as her life changed forever. And we hope you’ll remember that there are many new mothers just like her who need support, encouragement, and the reminder that what they carry is of great worth.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Assistant at GPCC. She has a devilishly handsome husband and two kiddos: one almost 2-year-old and one due to arrive in May. When she’s not at the Care Center, Mary enjoys writing, making her son giggle uncontrollably, DIYing, and Diet Mountain Dew. You can follow her on her personal blog at www.AllMySpringsBlog.com.