“In the sixth month, the angel Gavri’el was sent by God to a city in the Galil called Natzeret, to a virgin engaged to a man named Yosef, of the house of David; the virgin’s name was Miryam. Approaching her, the angel said, ‘Shalom, favored lady! Adonai is with you!’ She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favor with God. Look! You will become pregnant, you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him [Yĕhowshuwa’]. He will be great, he will be called Son of Ha’Elyon, Adonai, God, will give him the throne of his forefather David, and he will rule the House of Ya’akov forever—there will be no end to his Kingdom.’
‘How can this be’, asked Miryam of the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered her:
‘The Ruach HaKodesh will come over you, the power of Ha’Elyon will cover you. Therefore, the holy child born to you will be calle the Son of God.”—Luke 1:26-35 (The Complete Jewish Bible Translation)
At 36, although I have yet to birth my own child, I have many surrogate children. One of them is Caroline Irene. She’s about 1 1/2. Last week, her mother and I were having an email dialogue about an article she read entitled, “Parents Group Scolds TV shows for Sexualizing Young Girls“. Maybe it was the fact that I grew up on “Family Ties” and “The Cosby Show”, but of the entire article, I’m not sure which paragraph disturbed me more. The first excerpt paragraph (listed here) or the second:
The study from the Parents Television Council focused on the 25 network TV shows that are most popular among children 12 to 17 years old, among them “The Office,” “NCIS,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Family Guy,” “House,” “Glee,” “American Dad,” and “The Simpsons.”
Underage characters were sexualized at a higher rate than adult women characters in the shows, the study found, and the majority of the underage instances involved “suggestive dancing, erotic kissing, erotic touching and/or implied intercourse,” while adult women were more often sexualized by comments and jokes from other characters. Parents Television Council spokeswoman Melissa Henson explains that the report aims to “bring pressure … on people who are responsible for creating entertainment products that sexualize young girls,” while also hoping to “stigmatize” the practice. Past studies of the content of media productions haven’t made much headway in achieving such goals, but the PTC is looking to use the study as the point of departure in “a national dialogue” on the issue.
OK. *What* is a 12-year-old doing watching “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Desperate Housewives”? What’s *anybody* doing watching “The Vampire Diaries” (hmph, I guess a lot of people haven’t “happened upon” Proverbs 30:14 yet)?!? And when you have young people, whose brains (and character) are still under *major construction*, watching this kind of programming, why should we be shocked that the follow-up sentence would be that “underage characters were sexualized at a higher rate than adult women int he shows…” It’s disturbing (very), but can we really be surprised? When has sexual immorality ever had a (clear) conscience?
It’s sad, but in response to the link she sent, I had one of my own. MomsToday.Com had a feature article last week: “7 Going on 27: Does little girl fashion shoot cross the line?” A little girl giving the “naughty stare” while brushing her teeth?!? Even the author of the piece (and bravo! to her) had to say, “Is this a new low for the sexualization of our young girls? I wonder if the parents of these girls knew what they were getting into, although if you sign your child up to be a model, you can’t be terribly concerned about her self-image. I don’t actually find these pics as disturbing as the video of little dancers performing to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ that made the rounds several months ago. The girls in the Vogue shoot are not as scantily clad, but they don’t appear happy. They look a bit like children robbed of their innocence too soon.”
LITTLE GIRLS. Robbed of their innocence. *Too soon?* Personally, is there ever a “good time” have your innocence taken? But I get where she’s coming from. I was robbed of my innocence at a young age due to sexual abuse. And yet, when you think of a simple definition of abuse, which is AB-NORMAL USE, in many ways, what makes the young girls mentioned (affected, infected) in both articles much different? Fondling a body? Peddling an image? How good for a developing mind/body/soul can either ever really be?
I’ll tell you what Caroline Irene’s mom said:
“Can I just say this terrifies me? I mean…I’m worried about the implications this all has for Irene, but more so for the children (boys and girls) whose parents are ignorant and don’t know better (or worse yet…don’t care). As adults, parents, Christians…it is our job to preserve and protect the innocence of childhood as long as possible. When did we quit teaching children that there is a difference between flattering and flaunting, and that before you step outside the house you need to check yourself and see if how you have packaged yourself that day will cause a stumbling block to yourself or any of your Christian (and non-Christian) brothers? I fear we’re in for a bumpy ride, dear friend. Time to start instilling these values and morals in our children at an early age. Anyhow… this worries me and is the cause of many prayers.”
So right, Jennifer, so right.
And so, I’m sure some of you are wondering how I’m going to tie all this up into a big red bow of a Christmas thought, right? Well, I was wondering that too until I recalled a conversation that I had with some (eh hem) older people awhile back about the struggles that come with being a full grown adult…and abstinent. When they (married, mind you) were trying to tell me how I shouldn’t be struggling so much in my “purity journey”, my reply was, “You do know a lot of those people in the Bible were teenagers, right? CHILDREN.” Matter of fact, many theologians (and historians) say that Mary, the mother of Christ, was no more than 12-13 herself. At the rate I’m going, I could’ve been that girl’s grandmother (LOL). And so yes, because people are getting married later these days, self-control is needed in greater quantities. Hmph. I bet if those married people were single, they would get it. 😉
But the bigger point is that when you think of Mary being *chosen* to be the mother of Emmanuel and you think of the pics of those young girls, not looking like they’re playing in their moms make-up and shoes, but that they are trying to *be* their mothers…and when you read that more and more CHILDREN are being sexualized than grown people…doesn’t it kind of put this all into perspective? Doesn’t Satan’s strategy seem a bit less cryptic?
*Mary was a virgin.* There’s something very beautiful, very precious, very sacred about that. Now, that’s not to say that the Lord didn’t perform great miracles through the “Rahabs” of the Bible (who was Boaz’s mother and was in Christ’s bloodline, by the way-Joshua 2, Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31) or that he doesn’t hold a special place in his heart for the “Mary Magdalenes” (who was one of Christ’s dearest friends and was at the tomb with his mother on the first day of the week after his death and resurrection-Matthew 28:1) too. However, it was a *virgin* that the Father decided that his only begotten Son (John 3:16) should be birthed through.
And you know what? More and more, I really do think there is something to that. Without the sacrifice that Christ made, we would not have the privilege of salvation and grace in the way that we all now do. The Liar (John 8:44) is such a hater. Could that be what this is all about? That he is angry because it was through a young innocent girl that we have salvation and because, like Herod (Matthew 2), he was unable to kill the Messiah (John 10:17), he is now taking out his vengeance on the young women who came after her? Because he is still so angry at Mary?
Will there be “another Mary”? I doubt it. There’s no need. However, Christ did say that we would be able to do greater things than he (John 14:12-14). And so, there are still miracles to be performed today. There is still a sanctity when it comes to virginity and yes, due to the Lord’s deep love for children (Matthew 19:24), there is still a purpose for every young soul and a lion that seeks to devour them. Just as we are (fore)warned in I Peter 5:8 that amidst all of the distractions, we must remain more sober and vigilant than ever. We need to PRAY for our children’s protection against the principalities (Ephesians 6:12) that seek to PREY upon them. Shoot, you don’t think that Satan holds a grudge? Even one that’s over 2000 years old? THINK. AGAIN.
And so, as so many people will be using this upcoming Sabbath day to reflect on the gift of the birth of Christ, I would encourage us all to add something to that. Think about the vessel that was used to bring him into the world…and the beauty of birth that continues even today. Because of the attack on so many young women’s virtue, I still believe that the Lord continues to have great plans for the pure in heart *and* the pure in body. Miracles that are to be manifested.
Let’s pray. Let’s protect. Let’s spiritually provide.
For the sake of innocence….and more happy endings.
Not like Mary and Christ’s per se…but because of them.