We've all heard the song during the Christmas season, but who was he???
Winceslaus was born to a Duke and Duchess of Bohemia in 907, was educated by his Christian grandmother, lost his father to a battle, and was then left to be raised by his mother who was not a Christian. Following his father's death, the Duchess embraced paganism and plunged the country into a civil war between Christians and non-Christians.
Winceslaus' grandmother wanted him to claim his rightful title of Duke of Bohemia and end the persecution of Christians. His mother was so determined for him NOT to become Duke, she had her mother-in-law strangled. However, after turning fifteen, Winceslaus became ruler and declared that every person would have the "liberty of conscience" to worship God freely.
As leader, Winceslaus defended widows and orphans, built churches, fed and clothed the poor, visited prisoners and tried to end oppression of the poor. His brother, Boleslaus, had followed in his mother's pagan footsteps and could not stomach his brother's spreading of "Christian Cheer". As a result, he developed an evil plan to murder his brother and take his place as ruler.
Winceslaus made it a habit to visit churches on their feast days. When Boleslaus learned his brother was going to be visiting a church near his home, he invited him to stay with him. Even though Winceslaus doubted his brother's intentions, he stayed with him. A plan to assassinate Winceslaus over dinner failed, but the next day, Boleslaus attacked his brother with a sword just before he entered the church he had come to visit. Co-conspirators joined him and took Winceslaus down. Before dying on the steps of the church, Winceslaus said, "Brother, may God forgive you."
When you follow God's Way, you will be hated by those on the opposing path. The heat will be a constant in your life and may come from unexpected people and places: Winceslaus was hated by his own mother and brother. His stand for Christ in caring for widows and orphans, feeding and clothing the poor, etc. cost him alot.....his family and his life.
Chappy and I have lost many friends over our passion for orphans and widows. Maybe it is because we are both first borns and pretty open about suggesting anyone who is "able" should adopt an orphan.....and EVERY Christian should find a widow to visit and look after. Each day we discuss our shock over how many Christians we know who have plenty of money and space in their home who could save ONE orphan with Down Syndrome through the gift of adoption AND it would not impact their lives one single bit other than they would have an extra member of the family.....but they don't. These believers know orphans with DS are tragically placed in horrible mental institutions to be tortured and killed when they turn four.....they know scripture says Christians are to care for orphans in distress.....they know God is holding them responsible to act.....but they do nothing. They are comfortable with their lives and do not want to change their routine.....not even when a child's life is at stake.
Don't misnderstand, Chappy and I do not want to come across as self-righteous or holier than thou. We are far from perfect, and do not sit in judgement of anyone. However, to us, this as an urgent situation that needs to be discussed openly, because children are dying right now, and God wants us to save them! If it was your child or my child who was being dragged off to a mental institution where he/she would be drugged, starved, and tied to a bed for the rest of his/her life.....can you imagine the lengths we would go to in order to save our child?? We wouldn't be able to sleep or rest until we knew our child was safe. Well these orphans don't have parents.....so who will stand up for them? lose sleep for them? save them? If not us, then who? By doing nothing, what is the message believers are trying to get across? Is the message: "This is unfortunate, but not my problem"......or "The orphans with Down Syndrome deserve to be tortured and killed." From God's viewpoint, what's the difference???
Added at 10:17am 12/22:
I received a comment from a woman named Kathleen below. I hope you will take time to read her comment and be moved. Just so you will know, I get emails from people like Kathleen all of the time. "Kathleens" are people who get very mad at my blog posts, but not for the reason you would expect. You would expect Kathleen to be someone who argues the point: "Not everyone is called to adopt....how dare you make me feel guilty for not doing something I am not called to do." Wrong! The "Kathleens" that email me are moms and dads who have already adopted....or have fostered children.....they read my posts and want to do more, but have full plates. They want me to show more grace and mercy in my posts.
I respond to them in the same way I responded to Kathleen's comment below.....the "Kathleens" are not the audience I am trying to reach. If you have already adopted, friends, you have certainly done your part. I was told a shocking statistic recently.....I don't know if it was true, but I wouldn't doubt it's accuracy: Just less than 10% of Christian families in our country have adopted or taken in an unwanted child. Does that surprise you?
If you hear anger in my posts, it is because I feel angry about the orphan crisis......but especially about special needs orphans. I am angry because so many "could help" but won't help. Thanks to all of the "Kathleens" of the blog-o-sphere who are always so willing to do more. God bless you!
"Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day." Isaiah 58:9-10
"Jesus said: If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it."