Merry blessed Christmas, everyone!
Reposting my WND Christmas column from 2004, "The Embryonic Jesus Story"...
At this time of year, we focus on Christ's birth, but there is a fascinating incident the Bible describes near the beginning of Jesus' human life, several months prior. It is the Embryonic Jesus Story.
Luke 1 tells about the first person besides Jesus' mother and earthly father who recognized He was extraordinary - Jesus' cousin John, while John was yet a fetus, and Jesus was but an embryo.
When John was a preborn 6-month-old, his Aunt Mary came to visit John's expectant mother Elizabeth, her cousin. Mary was newly pregnant with Jesus.
Luke 1:41 says when Mary greeted Elizabeth, John kicked. Elizabeth told Mary, "The instant I heard your voice, my baby moved in me for joy!"...
Elizabeth then prophesied, "You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child that you will have. I feel blessed that the mother of my Lord is visiting me."
John was later known as John the Baptist. Jesus said John and his role were foreseen in Malachi 3:1: "I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way in front of you."
Amazingly, John began preparing the way for Jesus at the tender age of 6 fetal months....
Actually, this was also prophesied. Before John was even conceived, the angel Gabriel told his father Zechariah: "He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born ... He will go ahead of the Lord ... He will prepare the people for their Lord" (Lu. 1:15-17).
On a practical level, we learn from these Scriptures that preborn babies hear, display emotion, communicate
intuitively with their mothers, and even launch their life's work.
Science has corroborated babies hear as early as 20 weeks, which the Bible knew several thousand years ago, and most mothers say they bond with their preborn babies.
But can fetuses really show emotion and begin fulfilling their destiny? The incident described in Luke wasn't the first biblical account of fetuses displaying dispositions.
Genesis 25 tells about Rebekah and the twins she was carrying, Jacob and Esau. Verses 21-22 say: "When the children inside her were struggling with each other, she said, 'If it's like this now, what will become of me?'"
The Lord answered her: "Two countries are in your womb. Two nations will go their separate ways from birth. One nation will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger" (verse 23).
The struggles between the boys began in utero. The younger Jacob was born "with his hand holding on to Esau's heel." Jacob later claimed Esau's birthright, and God changed his name to Israel. The hostilities between the stronger Israelites and the weaker Edomites came to pass. Jacob's prenatal propensity for "struggling" lasted his entire life. He once even physically wrestled God (Genesis 32:22-32).
Genesis 38:27-30 tells about another set of fetal twins: "As [Tamar] was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, 'This one came out first.' But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, 'Is this how you burst into the world!' He was named Perez (Bursting Into). After that his brother was born with the red yarn on his hand. He was named Zerah (Sunrise)."
Tamar's firstborn son, Perez, was an ancestor of God's firstborn son, Jesus (Matthew 1:3, Luke 3:33).
Yes, a person's mark on the world begins prenatally. David said in Psalm 22:10, "From the womb you have been my God." Paul said in Galatians 1:15, "... God ... appointed me before I was born ..." Conversely, Psalm 58:3 says, "Even inside the womb wicked people are strangers to God."
God does want the best for us. Just as he told Jeremiah in 1:5, he tells us, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work."
God's plan for each egg, sperm, embryo, fetus, baby, child and adult are beyond our human capacity to comprehend. Ecclesiastes 11:5 says: "Just as you don't know how the breath of life enters the limbs of a child within its mother's womb, you also don't understand how God, who made everything, works."
The angel Gabriel made another prediction to Zechariah about his son John, saying, "He will change parents' attitudes toward their children."
I pray John's part in the Embryonic Jesus Story will do just that regarding some attitudes previously accepting of abortion.
[Graphic of Mary and Elizabeth via KarenSchmidtSculpture.com
Merry Christmas, everybody.Posted by: Keli Hu at December 25, 2009 9:34 AM
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at December 25, 2009 9:49 AM
Merry CHRISTmas to all!!Posted by: carla at December 25, 2009 10:53 AM
MERRY CHRISTMAS Jill, Mods and everyone. Thank you for all you do for LIFE and for the wonderful thread on the sanctity of LIFE. "God bless you everyone."Posted by: Prolifer L at December 25, 2009 11:29 AM
I use this story from Luke all the time when I have to explain to believers why they must be actively involved in the pro-life movement or to those in church ministry ( pastors, priests, church workers, youth ministers)why they must exhort those who look to them for leadership to stand up for life. Thanks for presenting it so well. Merry Christmas. Stay warm.Posted by: John Jakubczyk at December 25, 2009 2:17 PM
Merry Christmas and a prayer for abundant blessings to all.
Merry Christmas to all! I do too, John J. :)Posted by: Pamela at December 25, 2009 3:26 PM
Merry Christmas, Jill.Posted by: Leslie Hanks at December 25, 2009 7:24 PM
Happy holadays sounds so cheesey, I'd muchrather place Christmas in its proper light. Light came into the world, but few recignized him. That Light was The Lord Jesus, not Obama! RJPosted by: RJ Sandefur at December 25, 2009 8:05 PM
Merry Christmas everyone!Posted by: Ed at December 25, 2009 9:52 PM
Jesus, may you have a zillion billion trillion more birthdays!!
I love you.Posted by: Phil Schembri is Hisman at December 25, 2009 11:50 PM
"Happy holadays sounds so cheesey, I'd muchrather place Christmas in its proper light."
We say "Happy Holidays" simply to acknowledge the myriad of holidays, and that not everyone has the same religious beliefs. It isn't a slam on Christmas, or anything.
Happy Kwanzaa, by the way.Posted by: bmmg39 at December 26, 2009 12:11 PM
Happy holidays, bmmg!
Personally I try to reciprocate whichever greeting someone gives to me - I consider it a matter of etiquette. If I don't know what they celebrate then I think nothing is nicer and more genuine than a warm "happy holidays!" It's the truth - I wish everyone a happy holiday, every holiday all throughout these 30 days where so many are celebrated by so many people.Posted by: Alexandra at December 26, 2009 2:33 PM
Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you find peace, joy, health, and happiness this holiday season and in the coming year.
Merry Christmas to Jill and all the moderators here.
Thanks so much for this wonderful blog and spreading the pro life message.Posted by: Therese at December 26, 2009 8:02 PM
Thanks for all the Christmas well wishes! Pray you all had a Merry Christmas, too!Posted by: Jill Stanek at December 27, 2009 9:05 AM
Just thought that those out there of the "politically-correct" persuasion might be interested in knowing that the etymology of "holiday" is "holy day".
God bless us everyone!Posted by: Eileen at December 27, 2009 8:39 PM