[Ed. note: I am reprinting this from my previous blog, the Praise God Blog, because it is fitting for the upcoming commemoration of the 37th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I have made a few minor changes to it, upgrading it to more Orthodox specifications.]
Lo, sons are the heritage of the Lord, the reward of the fruit of the womb. (Psalm 126:3 LXX)
That’s right — the Lord loves babies and he wants us to love them because they are rewards for us and a showing of His fruitfulness towards us. He doesn’t want babies aborted (Ps 138:15,LXX) and he doesn’t want them offended either (Mt 18:6 ).
Indeed, children are models of Christian conduct — being accepting of all and without guile.
Recall this account in the Gospels:
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18)
This makes it quite clear that God Himself has a deep reverence for children, and indeed models the Christian life — true humility — on them. Look at what St. John Chrysostom has to say on this: “Thus He teaches humility, first through His actions by not sending the children away, but gladly receiving them, and then through His words, saying that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like little children. A little child is not haughty, he does not despise anyone, he is innocent and guileless. He does not inflate himself in the presence of important people, nor withdraw from those in sorrows. Instead he lives in complete simplicity.”
Romanos the Melodist had this to say in his Raising of Lazarus poem, chanted, still, by the Orthodox Church:
Having heard the words of the children,
Which came from pure hearts and innocent lips
God put our children here to add to His glory, and they can praise Him in the most simple and beautiful ways. A simple yawn, a simple stretch, a joyous smile, can energize the most deflated parent.
In fact, God derives strength and power from babies.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise… (Ps 8, LXX )
Wow… in such small vessels He produces such power.
God wants our little ones at the center of things. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:2 ) The next thing he said sounded kinda severe: that it would be better for anyone who offends one such child to be tossed to the bottom of a river with a rock tied around their neck. But isn’t that a good thing that God has their protection in mind? (If not God, then who would protect them? Certainly people in the Western World have done a lousy job at that: Indeed, some 37 years after Roe v. Wade, we in America, a supposedly Christian nation have modeled ourselves more on Herod the Child Killer than Jesus Christ!)
It’s good to be a baby. It’s good to have babies — and for that we should give praise to the one who designed them.
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (Jeremiah 1)