No other story, or pagan legend or philosophical anecdote or historical event, does in fact affect any of us with that peculiar and even poignant impression produced on us by the word Bethlehem.

-G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

In The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton reflects on what is special about Christianity, and on what is unique about Jesus Christ Himself. In the chapter called “The God in the Cave,” he marvels at how the Son of God came to earth, not with the triumphant fanfare one might expect, but in the dark and quiet of a stable, in a forgotten corner of the world.

Chesterton says that this was as it should have been, since Christ was not coming to a kingdom that recognized Him as its Sovereign. He was coming to a kingdom that had been taken over by a revolutionary – Satan – and so He had to enter “incognito,” as it were, to free His loyal subjects from oppression, and to reclaim His throne.

Understood in this way, Chesterton argues, the word Bethlehem takes on an exhilarating, liberating, and even “subversive” connotation. The “good news” proclaimed in that city is that, no matter how invincible the powers of this world may seem, and no matter how few, weak, harassed, and marginal the righteous may seem, evil will not triumph. Goodness, order, and peace will be restored.

This great Restoration – the coming of God’s Kingdom – is all the more remarkable because it is accomplished in and by a child. How wonderful it is, Chesterton says, that “the hands that had made the sun and the stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle.” How wonderful, too, that this great event is first proclaimed to a few shepherds, that this child who is the King of Kings has chosen the lowliest of this world as His agents.

Still more wonderful, in a way, is the unspeakably humbling recognition that He has chosen us as His agents today. Our beloved King, whose reign we long for, has confided in us His Restoration plan, and called on us and equipped us to play a key strategic role in carrying it out.

He has chosen two Ontario grandmothers, imprisoned for offering His love and mercy to mothers and babies in grave danger, but not prevented from continuing to save lives and souls, even behind bars. He has chosen a disabled Saskatchewan girl, who, by her death at the hands of her misguided father, has called this country to a collective examination of conscience. He has also chosen a remarkable number of other unremarkable people to be a voice for the voiceless, to clear our throats and speak up for those who are most innocent and defenceless, those who are so precious in His sight. And He has chosen us to suffer fear, ridicule, rejection, frustration, and persecution as a result. How blessed we are.

We are blessed particularly with the privilege of hearing you raise your voices. We hear you when you muster up the courage to go downtown and hold a sign that says, “Abortion kills children.” We hear you when you dare to defy Canada’s pro-abortion mediarchy, by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper in defence of preborn babies. We hear you when you open your homes and your hearts to children with special needs and extraordinary gifts to give.

Indeed, how blessed we are. As Christmas approaches, let’s make sure to give thanks to God for His goodness to us. Above all, let’s give thanks to Him for revealing His plan to us, and calling us to co-operate in it. Imagine! It’s not the Queen or the prime minister or any other earthly power who’s entrusted us with His work; it’s God Himself, whose power and authority – and goodness and justice – are infinitely greater than anything we can imagine.

What’s more, not only has He told us His Restoration plan, He’s asked us to carry it out at a crucial moment in history, in the most dangerous and most important battle of all. Worldly standards aside, the pro-life movement is anything but marginal today, just as the centre of the world 2,000 years ago wasn’t really Rome or Alexandria, but a little town in the backwater province of Judea. If only we saw things through God’s eyes, we’d see just how awesome the responsibilities which we’ve been given really are.

“Thank You, Lord, for letting me do Your work today.” This little prayer, a favourite of ours, and a kind of motto here at The Interim, should be on the lips of every pro-lifer at all times, but especially as we journey each year to Bethlehem, where “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15).

May God richly bless us, one and all, as we celebrate the Restoration of our King, whose conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary and whose birth in a stable in Bethlehem proclaimed to all the world the sanctity of every human life, and God’s unfathomable, unstoppable love for us.