The Incarnate Christ in Embryo

Today the Virgin cometh to the cave, to give birth to the Pre-eternal Word…
— Kontakion Hymn of the Forefeast 

In our Nativity hymns, the constant theme is that the Virgin carries within her womb God in the flesh. From mid-November onward, our expectations are heightened as the approach of the Feast draws near: The Theotokos draws near to Bethlehem bearing “Christ in embryo.”

“Christ in embryo”: This emphasis on the “contents” of the Virgin’s womb bears scrutiny as we not only prepare to celebrate our Lord’s birth but as we look at the Church’s moral teaching on the contents of every woman’s womb: the humanity of every unborn child, its innate dignity and worth.

We cannot celebrate the Virgin’s bearing Christ in her womb without relating our celebration to that of the Church’s moral teaching in regard to abortion. In fact, from the first century the Church’s opposition to abortion was seen as paramount to belief in the Incarnation of Christ. To believe that the One carried in Mary’s womb was fully God and fully Man would be contradicted if moral practice allowed for termination of pre-born life on the grounds that “it” isn’t human or that “it” isn’t a person. Theologically this is untenable.

For those moderns who have deviated from traditional morality, it is telling that those most supportive of abortion are those least likely to see Christ as Divine: God and Man, as we believe.

Related:
Holy Trinity to Sponsor Trip to 2012 March for Life

Our theology always has moral consequences. To believe otherwise is to disconnect what we believe from how we are called to act. As we prepare for our Lord’s Nativity in the Flesh, listen closely to the hymns of the Feast. They prepare us not only for a celebration on Christmas Day but also for the ongoing celebration of human life in the unborn, whose author is always God and which gift is always precious to him.   – Fr. John