Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015

Refugee children from Syria

...from Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

... from Southeast Asia

... from Central America

The world is going through the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. This may be but a foretaste of things to come with climate change, growing economic inequality, and as the Middle East continues to implode. The world is now swamped with refugees, and there will likely be even more down the road – perhaps many more.

Those of us who identify as Christian believe that God came into the world to live and die as one of us among people told to keep moving. We believe that God revealed Himself to humanity not in some blinding glorious theophany, but in a bastard child born to a teenage mother on the run with a price on His head. By appearing in the world not as great irresistible power, but in great weakness and vulnerability, at our mercy, God renders the whole grim arithmetic by which the world has always worked -- who may versus who must, success versus failure, power versus powerlessness, strength versus weakness -- irrelevant.

Our Nativity creches and Christmas pageants are sweetened Victorian versions of what is really a very dark story. A couple forced by some remote imperial decree to go to another town to register for a census finds no rooms available. The pregnant teenager gives birth to a child of uncertain paternity in a back alley stable among the animals. The jealous and suspicious local client ruler for the colonial power sends his soldiers in to massacre all the children of the town who meet the description of the object of his anxiety. The little family goes back on the road to flee for their lives to far away Egypt uncertain of the welcome they would receive.

Mother Teresa once said that if you want to see a perfect image of Christ, then just look at the persons on your right and left. If we want to see as close an image as possible of the Christ Child, then we should look at every child, but especially at those thousands upon thousands of children on the run now.

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