Brianna Heldt is a writer, speaker, and radio show host. She blogs at www.briannaheldt.com, has been a featured guest on BBC Radio, and her work can regularly be found in other online publications as well. A convert to the Catholic Church, Brianna explores topics ranging from faith and social issues to adoption and large family life. She and her husband make their home in Denver, along with their eight children.
As Christmas has arrived (and the New Year draws near), I find myself fairly disheartened by so much of what I’m seeing (and not seeing) in the news.
National Geographic is featuring, on its cover, a nine-year-old boy who identifies as transgender, and calls himself a girl. USA Today referred to the boy via social media as “a girl with guts” — as if, in order for a girl to be brave, she must actually be a male! Misogyny much, USA Today?
Then there was the dreadful terrorist violence in Germany, and the assassination of a Russian ambassador at a museum in Turkey. And a local story about a woman in Denver who left a small child in a freezing car overnight.
On the other hand, the United States Senate recently published a 500-page report on its investigation into Planned Parenthood. You will NOT be seeing much about this on the news, however, because apparently the mainstream media doesn’t want anyone to know. Personally, I feel people really SHOULD know how much the skin of a baby with Down syndrome sells for in this day and age.
For the love of all things good, what is wrong with our world?
Meanwhile, I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought to my vocation as wife and, consequently, mother to nine children. Ever since my sweet baby girl was born in June, you could say I’ve been pondering what I do, and why I do it. Plus my oldest will turn thirteen soon, and if that doesn’t get you thinking I don’t know what will! My husband and I are having frequent conversations about what direction we want our family to go in, and how we might get there. How do we raise strong, confident Catholics in a country where few seem to care that the body parts of dismembered babies are fetching quite a premium? How do I talk to my daughter about the speeches given by fellow students in her English class this past week — one on why legal abortion is such a good thing, and the other on how Christians, Muslims and Jews all hate homosexuals?
What’s interesting is that even though there aren’t really any easy answers, the ultimate answer is, of course, Christ. Just like we spent Advent doing penance and preparing our hearts for the birth of our Savior, we spend our entire lives watching and waiting and hoping for Jesus. We long to one day get to Heaven, where we will spend forever with God, free from the pain and evil so deeply etched into our broken and hurting world. We navigate the difficult things, whether it’s personal sin or tragedies swirling around us, strengthened through the graces we receive through the Sacraments. We are in a battle, of sorts. But we know who wins. And speaking as someone who’s only been a Catholic for a little over five years now and I can tell you that Christ’s Church, the fullness of the faith, is an immense and priceless gift. Jesus did not leave us to flounder, wonder, or agonize over how to live.
This Christmas I have found myself increasingly thankful for the Church, for my vocation, for my husband and children and for the life that God is calling me to live. In an increasingly confused culture, we have our domestic church, where we encourage our children to be virtuous, to pursue love and truth and beauty. We can have those tough pre-teen conversations, because we have the truth, the saints, Sacred Scripture, and the Sacraments.
We have Jesus.
And as we see what is happening all around us, we celebrate His birth all the more, precisely because we know that it is only He who can change, transform, and heal the world.