More than any other day of the year, March 25 is appropriate as a pro-life observance. Think of our other holidays: Easter, Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s to name a few. Each of these already has its own tradition. It would be impossible to superimpose on any one a new theme, so strong are the established patterns and associations. The most likely candidate might be Christmas, because a birthday accords well with pro-life thought but can you imagine trying to change to content of that festival?
However, the very power of Christmas in our lives and our traditions does make each of us pause and reflect at least once a year. It is a festival of new life. The new (calendar) year is about to be born. Midwinter is just past; the days are already lengthening; the Seasons’ dawn, spring, is on its way. The Saviour was born, enacting the promise of new life for all mankind. No campaign that pro-life could mount could even approach the scale or majesty of this occasion. As for the other holidays, well, there Christmas is perhaps too appropriate, none of the others are appropriate enough.
Why, then suggest March 25, three months after Christmas? In fact, this day has been observed as a day of special religious significance for as long as Christmas has been celebrated on December 25th. The point is not that it comes three months after Christ’s birthday, but that it comes nine months before it.
March 25 is, among Christians, the feast of the Incarnation, a moment to which Christmas is almost a footnote. But the chain of events begins in March, when the Archangel delivered a message and a humble Jewish girl gave her assent. This day is of momentous importance to all who live in Christian society, that is, to all North Americans and Western Europeans, to all who in any degree celebrate or acknowledge Christmas. For all those centuries, the meaning of Christmas has been fixed in our culture and in our hearts, and it has been rooted in the other event.
For all those centuries, all Christians, of all denominations, have agreed that the Saviour was both God, and Man, with neither nature subservient to or altered by the other. That is, Christ was in every respect an ordinary normal human being, and at the same time God, the son of God. Given this, it is incredible that any Christian churches could approve of or be neutral about abortion. Someone must not have thought the matter through.
March 25 celebrates two events which have always been held to be simultaneous and one. The first is the Annunciation to Mary by the angel of God’s plan, and her acceptance; the second is the Incarnation, the moment when God became man. He didn’t wait a while and then “possess” a boy or young man, and He didn’t become a foetus or blastocyst: He became man, fully and completely.
Now, the theology of this doesn’t need to concern us in pro-life; besides, it was settled over a thousand years ago. The point is that we have, by means of this paradigm, for all these centuries, established and accepted human life – fully and completely human-begins at conception. And March 25 is the day, nine months before Christmas, by which we have marked that knowledge. Now wouldn’t that make a pro-life holiday of no mean significance?
Editor’s Note: In Edmonton some pro-lifers have given March 25 special emphasis as a day for pro-life prayer for some four or five years.