The romance and warm fuzzies of Christmas have already worn off in many households....
The tinsel is a bit droopy, the trees are dropping needles, the wrapping paper is scrunched and bundled for recycling…..and this text reminds us that Christmas isn’t all sweetness and light: Christmas is not so merry, but is shot through with dark realities.
Like Mary and Joseph and Jesus, we live in a world corrupted by jealousy and rivalry---from our homes to the halls of government
We live in a world of sanctioned genocide across the world, and of ignored emotional slaughter of innocent children even at home. And we feel helpless. But we are not.
From this story I understand we need to listen like Joseph for “divine instruction that contradicts bureaucratic ordinances” (Sojourners)—we see it in our own denomination where pastors like Frank Schaefer practice civil disobedience of the church’s laws, and bishops like Minerva Carcano back him up.....divine instruction--bureaucratic ordinance.
We see it in our families, where grown children finally stand up to past abuse….divine instruction--bureaucratic ordinance. We see it in our world....
God is constantly trying to get our attention, through dreams and voices and visionary leaders that offer us, like the holy family, new possibilities, new beginnings, even if it means going somewhere, or doing or being something new and scary.
With all the bad news and reality that has swept in since the baby was born, it is tempting to think that Christmas is over, like any Christmas truce, or some blip in the media frenzy for bad news that sells.
But this child was born precisely INTO bad news and reality—this child came-and comes- right into our poverty or our wealth, to our fear and our anxiety, right into our grief and our pain.
As we stand on the cusp of a new year, this text calls US to ‘get up and go’—go into the unknown, yes, but confident that God goes with us, sure that God will keep in touch with us all the way, and certain that God’s, and our story is not done yet.
Thanks be to God!