Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Health Care and Christmas 2010

Over 2,000 years ago there was a moment in time that neither Earth nor Heaven will ever forget. In that moment, God's eternal Word, His extravagant love, His wisdom, power, and mercy became a flesh and blood human being and was born on Earth as a baby. Earth beheld His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. This wonderful story of a Holy Child born in a humble stable is the story about Christmas. This amazing gift is the miracle celebrated at this Season.

The New Testament in the Bible tells the Christmas story beginning in the book of Luke 2:1-20 (NIV): 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Can you imagine giving birth to a child in a stall filled with animals, straw, and dirty conditions? Wow, what a way to have a baby! Anyone in the health care field would tell you in a heartbeat that this is no way to bring a newborn into the world. However, things were pretty different in Middle East two millenia ago, and although conditions have vastly improved, delivering a child is still a challenge. The miracle of birth is still an awesome event. Those who have experienced the delivery process--Mom, Dad, Doctor, Nurse, Midwife--know that there are plenty of things that can go wrong. The birthing process can be difficult and painful, and women who have had babies can tell horrible stories about going through the event.

However, once the newborn is delivered alive and well, and then laid upon it's mother's breast right away, the sheer joy of this brand new little person outweighs the pain and suffering just a few minutes before. Mothers who care for their babies are always concerned about the safety and welfare of their little boy or girl when arrival is imminent, during the delivery process, and then afterwards as the child is cleaned by the birthing nurse, checked by the medical staff, and then placed in the nursery and then in the mother's room for care and feeding. How often do babies come into the world and then must be monitored closely because they are premature, or have health issues, or must have more intense medical attention? With the improvement of medical conditions in much of the world, those types of situations can be thwarted to some degree, and the wellbeing of the newborn is paramount.

Yet, in many parts of the world, birth is dangerous, and the mortality rates of newborns is much higher than in America and the civilized nations on the planet. In some areas of the world, babies are discarded or left for little less than disposable property. Life is perceived in those locations as cheap or of no value. Certainly, the worth of every child born on the planet is of significant value and should be regarded as precious. When life is valued more than gold, silver, or precious gems, then reality and perception are combined with each other to force recognition of the fact that all life, especially children, is precious no matter who or where people live.

When you prepare to celebrate the Christmas Holiday, remember who is the Reason for the Season! A tiny baby born in a manger who was born to die--now that is a dose of reality. The Christ child became a man  who died for all. Emanuel--God with us. Remember why you give gifts during this time, and remember that life is precious. Wise men still seek Him!

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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