By: Ekemini Uwan
“And I thank you for choosing me
To come through unto life to be
A beautiful reflection of His grace
See I know that a gift so great
Is only one God could create
And I'm reminded every time I see your face.”
King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega, Lion and the Lamb, Wonderful Counselor, the Son of God, Immanuel, Second Person of the Trinity—these are only a few of the titles that describe our Lord Jesus Christ. All of that plus sinless humanity made up the constitution of Baby Jesus. In jest, people often say, “Thank you, Baby Jesus.” But have you ever stopped to consider why the Savior of the World came as an infant?
Undoubtedly, babies are the most vulnerable people in society. They are dependent upon their parents to carry, clothe, feed, clean, nurture and care for them in every way. Why would the God of the universe come to us in such a vulnerable package? Scripture answers saying, “…he had to be made like them in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).
As I reflect on how infant Jesus came through His mother’s birth canal like the rest of humanity, I’m reminded of the fact that "Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants." My mind also recalls the unborn babies of Flint, Michigan who traveled the same course, but came into this world dead on arrival. Cause of death: greed at the hands of politicians who willfully contaminated the city’s water supply with lead and other toxins out of concern for Flint’s bottomline, over against the lives of its residents. Leaving their mothers reeling after suffering miscarriages and holding their stillborn babies in their arms. Intractable sorrow has made a home in their hearts, evicting the unspeakable joy that once resided there.
How does Jesus’ infancy relate to Black infant mortality rates and the stillborn babies of Flint?
Read: Matthew 2:1-18
This passage makes it clear that Herod was intent on killing Baby Jesus. The threat was so imminent that an angel of the Lord went to Joseph in a dream to warn him to take Mary and Baby Jesus to Egypt and remain there until Herod’s death. Lamentably, the male children slaughtered in Bethlehem were the victims of state-sanctioned violence at the hands of Herod. From infancy, Jesus lived under the threat of death; and while it’s true that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world, Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again...” (John 10:18).
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), which includes deliverance from personal sin and the tyrannical reign of sin that manifests itself in anti-black oppression, like white supremacy and the environmental racism that snatched the lives of the babies in Flint while in the womb. Jesus Christ was made like us in every respect, so that He would share in a solidaric bond with all of humanity, including the stillborn babies of Flint. The blood of these innocent ones cry out for vengeance from the One who judges righteously. The weight of the wait during this Advent season is unbearable in light of the injustices that abound, but the Judge of all the earth shall do right (Gen. 18:25).
We join our grief with the mothers of Flint who gave birth to stillborn babies and suffered miscarriages because the water supply that is suppose to sustain life brought forth death. We weep for the dead infants of Black mothers, who themselves, went to the precipice of death to give life only to hold their lifeless child in their arms. Our souls cry out against this evil! We lament the wickedness and the lovelessness that led to the Flint crisis in the first place. We pray that you would execute your justice now, in this present evil age, and we pray for the strength of the organizers and activists on the ground who are working to make your justice a reality. Comfort those who are grieving the deaths of loved ones who died from this crisis and give the people of Flint full access to clean water. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.