Have an Inclusive Christmas
I came across this photo of Santa interacting with an autistic child. It nearly brought me to tears. For most of my adult life, I have worked for inclusion — particularly as it relates to chronically ill people, those with disabilities, and women in crisis pregnancies.
Inclusion! It happens in small ways and small gestures that may seem insignificant yet make significant differences in the daily lives of people. Disability inclusion doesn’t happen because of government programs (as helpful as they may be), legislation, or fashionable “progressive” thinking.
Real inclusion begins in the hearts of ordinary people. It is expressed in their places of work, their schools, their churches and neighborhoods in cities, towns and villages all across the nation. Inclusion opens doors that were previously closed to relationships. Inclusion is interactive and changes a noun into a verb.
Inclusion embraces every member of the human family: born and unborn, the very old and the very young, every ethnicity, the abled and the disabled, the poorest and the rich, the addict, the homeless, the deranged, and those who are not even loved by anybody. Inclusive communities are life-affirming, never life-denying.
They do not kill each other. There is no place for abortion, assisted suicide or euthanasia in truly inclusive communities. Inclusion involves a nurturing of minds and spirits of people. It cares. Inclusion begins in the womb and ends at the tomb. It involves every stage and state of life between those two points. Inclusion is what it means to be pro-life.
Authentic inclusion encourages every one to rise to their full potential that God intended for them. Authentic inclusion makes real for others what that child in the manger came to bring us. “A new commandment I give to you,” he says a few years later, “that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Mark Davis Pickup is a Canadian pro-life activist. You can read more of his thoughts and story at his blog, Human Life Matters. For more on his life, see Nancy Flory’s profile, Man With Severe MS Walks Again. See also her interview with him about his pro-life work, Fighting Euthanasia.