If you’ve never heard of that day, you missed it. I did, too.
It has been around for a while. The United Nations declared in 1981 that it would be celebrated on December 3 every year.
The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. United Nations Enable
President Obama included this in his presidential declaration for the day:
America stands in solidarity with the growing number of nations around the world that have committed themselves to ending unequal treatment of persons with disabilities. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we acknowledge the contributions of women and men with disabilities around the world, and we recognize our charge to ensure that all individuals can enjoy full inclusion and participation in our societies.
I’m struck by two things:
- This was about it from the White House (or Congress for that matter – neither the House nor the Senate even made a statement that I could find). There were no videos or personal appearances by the President or Vice President. Since almost 50 million Americans live with a disabling condition, I find that curious.
- He doesn’t really recognize his ‘charge to ensure that all individuals can enjoy full inclusion and participation in our societies.’ The unborn children with disabilities who are being exterminated at alarming rates never have the opportunity to be included or participate.
And I believe the greatest acts of celebration have nothing to do with these declarations by the UN or the White House. This Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will take my entire family to church where I will observe children and adults with disabilities being welcomed, worshipping, and sitting under preaching that honors God.
I’ll take these quiet acts of inclusion 52 times a year over a one-day celebration or a multitude of governmental declarations.
Of course it is imperfectly done at Bethlehem; I know there are some who do not feel included or welcomed. We need God’s continued help and provision to change that and to serve all who come. We need his wisdom. Please continue to pray for us.