Greetings from Chicago, where I’m spending Christmas once again this year. I always enjoy returning here to spend the holidays with my parents, take in a movie or two and relax. I hope that this holiday season is treating you well.
The Christ child came to dwell among us, not in the comfort of a steady home but in the cold and dirt of a manger to an unstable couple in a strange land. His birth was scandalous, born to a virgin and her unwed spouse. He wasn’t born into royalty or stability, but into poverty and a world of unanswered questions. It was here that our God chose to come, chose to dwell among us. God came to bring light to the darkness, to prove once and for all that the least shall be first and the first, last.
Yet, how often have we forgotten this? How often have we chosen to believe that the story was somehow different, that the circumstances were perhaps more suitable to our comfortable lives? How often have we set aside the reality of that Incarnation and our own call to a Christian life that was born on that night in a very uncomfortable world?
I wonder what would happen if instead of choosing to come to us on that night God chose to dwell among us now? Would dignitaries visit the cave and offer gifts? Or would the “wise men” tell Mary and Joseph to “pull up their bootstraps” and get to work? Would the couple be allowed to stay in Bethlehem or would they be seen as “illegal” and violently deported? Would the story of such a great arrival be covered tonight at 10:00 or would we instead be reminded of partisan bickering and gridlock that overshadows any miracle, Christmas or otherwise?
Yes, as that old song reminds us, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. We need to be reminded once again of why Christ came to us that night so long ago. We need to seek the betterment of each other, moving beyond our selfish comfort and out of our respective ideological corners.
We need a little Christmas, not just today, but in the days ahead. To set aside the cynicism that keeps us from finding solutions in Washington, in our neighborhoods and our churches. We need a little Christmas to move past the compassion deficit that allows us to believe that giving “welfare” is only compassionate when it is given to “job creators.” We need a little Christmas to forgive those that have hurt us, and to forgive ourselves.
Yes, we need a little Christmas to fulfill that promise that was born in the midst of dirt and scandal. May we truly fulfill it, together.
Peace to you and all those you love on this most holy night.