Be patient with me, but…I’m still in the Christmas spirit! Maybe I’m not all by myself here! Technically, the Christmas season extends to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which was just last Sunday. In some countries it goes until Feb. 2, forty days after Christmas, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Fine with me! The lengthier the better!

But I can’t get my attention off that baby in the manger. This infant is the Eternal Word, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, one in being with the Father, the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, who became incarnate, took a human nature, true man, the Word made flesh, the Messiah, our Lord and Savior…a baby in the crib! As Pope Francis claims, “God lies hidden in this infant.”

At the center of history, when B.C. becomes A.D., is a mother and her baby.

Babies are what it’s all about. In the many Christmas cards I got— thanks!—so many of them shared the good news, and usually a photo of a new baby who was born last year. Alleluia! As parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters know, nothing changes lives like the birth of a baby!

Where would we be without babies? Well…extinct! Nothing brings hope and promise like the birth of a baby, the sure sign that creation, life, and civilization go on. Lord knows where we would be if babies were not at the center, if infants were looked upon as a curse.

Yet…are we close to that? Folks far brighter than I’ll ever be speak about an “anti-natalism” in culture, where pregnancy and babies are thought a burden, where conception and pregnancy are considered a threat to liberation and self-fulfillment.

Right before Christmas, Pope Francis lamented a “demographic winter.” In his beloved Italy, he noted that the number of deaths last year were higher than the rate of births. That’s haunting!

What does it say when pregnancy is a department of the Centers for Disease Control? Do we not blush that aborting a baby is considered not only a right, but a virtue and duty by some, available anywhere, anytime, for any reason, up to the process of birth, with medical professionals coerced to provide it, to be paid for by all of us? Is not abortion as “health care” an oxymoron? Do we not worry when an expectant mom with her two little children is snickered at? Where are we when even the life-giving, heroic act of adoption is scorned?

Robert Kennedy—who beamed over his nine children—said that the health of any society can be gauged by the way we treat babies, the fragile, and the weak elderly. We may be flunking!

January is Respect Life Month, by default, I’m afraid, since the gruesome Roe v. Wade decision was announced on Jan. 22, 1973.

“Choose life, that you may flourish!” the Bible exhorts.

No babies…no life;

No babies…no civilization!