Wednesday, December 23, 2015
He was born in a foreign land in a stable because he was both an immigrant and homeless. His mother conceived before she was married. He grew up to be a carpenter, taught by his father to work with his hands, and later an itinerant preacher. He never traveled far, never attended college, never wrote a book, and never had his own church. I’m told his longest speech was the Sermon on the Mount in which he summarized all his teachings in what takes 12 minutes to read.
He spoke of sharing what we had with others, that we were all brothers and sisters, that we should welcome the homeless, the sick, the poor, the marginalized.
These were the teachings of Jesus, the poor Jewish poor who’s birthday we celebrate and who’s teachings are similar to the teachings of most of the world’s religions and philosophies.
Which leads me to questions.
How can greed and financial success for a few at the expense of the many be OK? How can we talk about building a wall between us and our brothers and sisters to the south? How can we talk with such hate about an entire religion and threaten to bar them from our homeland? How can this country, that evokes the name of God on our currency, not be outraged by such things, not be embarrassed, not say to ourselves, is this the teaching of the one who’s birthday we celebrate?
It is easy to become discouraged, but we must not.
We must recognize the danger that people who speak with such hate pose and we must speak out against it, we must stand in solidarity against those who would benefit at the expense of others, but we must also remember that across this country and the world there our people who do believe, people who toil daily to bring a voice to the voiceless, respect to all, fairness, enough food, a living wage, medical care, an end to discrimination and bigotry, and we must celebrate, support, and encourage such people.
I wish you the brotherly love that this season should mean.