By Tom Quiner
The world never got to know little Claudia.
The baby was cast outside naked to die by her father, the Roman Emperor Claudius, when he learned he hadn’t fathered the little girl.
History views her life as little more than a footnote in a compendium of excesses inflicted on mankind by Roman emperors.
Human life was disposable in the time of Claudia. First century Rome simply ‘cast out’ babies that weren’t wanted, especially if they were girls, or if they were imperfect.
Some would be left in what we would characterize as a ‘dump yard’ for babies where they would die from exposure, or in some cases, be retrieved to be raised by others.
Another Child was born several decades before Claudia who changed all of that.
The impact of this Child slowly, but surely, changed the way Rome operated. Babies that were cast out were increasingly rescued and raised by followers of the Child.
The idea that people were nothing but property for the rich and powerful was replaced by the Child’s shocking revelation that each person has an inherent dignity, whether they were a baby, or blind, or a cripple, or a widow.
This created an entirely new idea of what a family is. Love, sacrificial love as modeled by the Child, became the cornerstone of family life, which affected community life, which affected a nation’s life.
By the fourth century, Roman paganism was replaced by a radically different religion inspired by the Child. This new religion wasn’t just defined by a certain set of virtues, although it built on the philosophy of the Greek philosophers who embraced prudence, justice, temperance, and courage as foundational virtues.
Nor was it defined solely by the new virtues it embraced: faith, hope and sacrificial love (charity).
In fact, the new religion inspired by the Child was so much more than that.
The Child revealed to us the unimaginable love of His Father. Despite our baseness, despite our heartlessness, despite our sinful nature, He wanted us.
He forgives us if we’ll but accept it and turn away from sin.
We learned that even before our conception, we were made in His image, which we reflect on those around us when we live out those beautiful virtues the Child taught us.
In this Christmas season, we know that this Child born some 2000 years ago is everything, that His life grows in significance as the world’s population grows.
His work isn’t done. Paganism is never snuffed out. Today’s little Claudias aren’t discarded on the streets, they’re killed in the womb by the millions.
Make that tens of millions.
The Child calls on us to be a light for this darkened world, to shine a light on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.
He calls on us to turn away from the paganism that killed little Claudia 2000 years ago and kills millions of persons in the womb today.
He calls on us to turn to Him, for peace on earth begins with peace in the womb.