December is an iffy month when it comes to emotions.
On the one hand, folks often tap into a sense of holiday cheer and become their best, most generous selves.
On the other hand, the Christmas season can be the most difficult time of year to experience grief, loss or wrenching changes.
Daylight hours are in short supply, but expectations run high. If there’s a most difficult time of year to face an unplanned pregnancy, this is it.
So what is it about Christmas that makes it merry and bright? What is it that the human soul cries out for during the bleak days of December—and always?
What do the people who come through our doors need most?
Women and couples who face unplanned pregnancies are often dealing with emotions like shock, fear and shame.
They face derailed hopes and dreams. They wonder about an uncertain future.
A situation this difficult calls for comfort.
Comfort is like wrapping a cozy blanket around someone on a bitterly cold night, shielding them with warmth and security. The recipient doesn’t need to do anything but accept it.
Those we serve need comfort this Christmas.
Georg Friedrich Handel’s choral masterpiece, The Messiah, features a tenor aria called “Comfort Ye my People” which is based on Isaiah 40, a tender passage containing the promise of good news coming.
Not only does God bring comfort to His people—He calls Himself “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). The Holy Spirit’s name is literally “Comforter” (John 14:16).
Because we know the Source of all comfort, we are well able to offer comfort to those who need it.
Another emotional need during unplanned pregnancies is the need for hope.
A desperate woman may feel compelled to seek a quick solution, but what she really needs is confidence to embrace the future, even though it looks different than what she had in mind.
Here’s the thing: hope leads to good decisions, while choices based on despair usually end in regret.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines hope as “to want something to happen or be true.” Thankfully, biblical hope offers something more.
The kind of hope God offers is hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). It’s not a matter of, “Well, I hope so…” but rather an assurance that our loving God will fulfill His promises.
Christmas reminds us of the ultimate hope God freely offers. Because we ourselves are buoyed up by this hope, we are well able to offer it to those we serve.
An unplanned pregnancy can be a source of great stress and anguish. It causes a woman’s mind to race, inhibiting her ability to think clearly. It can cause stress symptoms in her body.
A woman in crisis due to an unexpected pregnancy is agitated. She’s running all the “what if’s” through her mind. She feels worried and anxious.
She needs peace.
Isaiah 9:6 says this prophetically about Jesus, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Again, God’s very name contains exactly what the human heart needs.
Because we know the Prince of Peace, we can minister to those struggling with worry, anxiety and stress. We can provide a haven for them where their minds can quiet down.
We can offer them the gift of peace this Christmas.
If you’ve been in this ministry for any length of time, you’ve seen some miracles.
That young woman who presented with such fear and anguish, now proudly smiling as she shows off her newborn.
Those parents, so distressed about their daughter’s pregnancy, now transformed into doting grandparents.
A life decision may not seem easy, but it brings great blessing and joy.
When “unplanned” babies come into the world, everyone around them benefits from their presence.
A young woman gains confidence in herself. A young man steps up and grows up. A splintered family is healed.
A helpless, newborn human has incredible power. No abortion could ever accomplish what a baby’s presence can.
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In Luke 2:10, the angels said to the shepherds, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Jesus has given us His complete kind of joy (John 15:11). This Christmas, we can be instruments of joy in the lives of others.
Surrounding and upholding words and actions that bring comfort, hope, peace and joy is one great motivator—love.
We do this work because God, our Creator, loves every single human being. He values us in a special way above anything else in creation (Psalm 8:3-5; John 3:16).
Because we know Him and are loved by Him, we have His love for others.
We may be the only ones who show unconditional love to many of the folks who walk through our doors.
What greater gift can we give them this Christmas?
Comfort, hope, peace, joy and love.
These are hallmarks of the season—and of the great work you do every day.