The Christmas message: the bottom placed on top

refugee child

Christmas tells an unlikely, unimaginable and for some unbelievable story. And in doing so the story of Jesus successfully turns custom, privilege and status on its head. In god’s eyes; the poor,the abused, the oppressed, have hegemony

Hope entered into  the world as a curly (possibly)  nappy headed, dark skinned, poor, Jewish child, from a forgotten and obscure village, born in a stable, because they weren’t deemed important enough to make room for in the Inn. It was born to a mother with a questionable reputation, under circumstances similar to those today fleeing wars and conflict.

There is hope that God indeed sees.

Jesus mother Mary in her Magnificat,  understands the meaning of her child,saying, “he has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

Because of its blasphemous and sacrilegious implications, Christendom talks little about the Roman’s rumor that Mary had been raped by a Roman soldier and that the virgin birth was conjured up by the gospel writers Luke and Matthew to cover up the truth.

But Christians in their zeal,  miss the point. So what if the story was true? The choosing of a woman scarred by sexual assault to bring into the world the Messiah, signals god’s love for the victims of bullying, abuse and sexual assault. It’s Her way of symbolically givingthe finger to the abusers of the world.

Joseph’s embrace of Mary despite the mystery around her pregnancy turns the story into a powerful love story as well.

Moreover, the story is filled with all kinds of upside down propositions.

The Wise Men come from the East and not the West.

The religious visitors are from religions other than Judaism, not a single rabbi or Bible thumping religious fanatic is on the scene.

Angels appear to mere peasants (shepherds),  not nobles or aristocrats or the monarchy.

“Out of Egypt I called my son says the scriptures, not out of Europe

This is a story of and for the underdog. This is an opportunity for the downtrodden to gloat; to shine. An opportunity for the slave to look over at the Masters house and smile knowing,  that their days too are coming.

The story is also a political one. According to Luke, the angels tell the shepherds “I bring you good news of great joy for all the people, to you is born in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah (Christ) the Lord.”  These words didn’t represent pie in the sky, but real live deliverance.

Rather they were treasonous words, which the powers understood. Savior meant deliverer, Messiah was the word for the “anointed one” who like Moses in previous times would deliver Israel from bondage, in this case Roman colonialism. And only Cesar was called Lord.

The “powers that be” in the form of King Herod of Palestine, understood very well  that the birth of a Messiah was a direct threat to his rule and sought to have the baby Jesus killed and in doing so carried out infanticide, ordering the deaths of all new born males in the region.

Eventually Rome caught on. They understood the danger of a peaceful revolution of values, buttressed by new found self- esteem and a sense of community among its colonized subjects. They succeeded in temporarily silencing the Judean revolutionary rabbi.

Jesus coming into the world means, one day on this earth, we will all share equally in earth’s bounty. There will be no more war, no more running from wars. “Swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.” There will be no more hate, or hating, no more racism. Patriarchy and sexism will be a thing of the past.  And like the Old Testament prophet Micah predicted, “Every man, every woman shall sit on his own porch and under their own vine and under their own mango tree and no one shall make them afraid.”

No more bullying, no more being called nigger, no more being called faggot, no more raghead, no more being called bitches and ho’s, no more thots.  According to the prophet Isaiah, She will “wipe all the tears from our faces!”  And the disgrace, embarrassment, shame, angst, and pain of the abused,  picked on,  downtrodden and  oppressed, shall be taken away from the earth.

I may be black I may be queer I may be a refugee I may be an immigrant I may be poor I may be ugly, I may be oppressed, but I am somebody!

Jesus coming into the world means one day the bottom will be on top!

justice then peace

 

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