A blog for Holy Innocents Day, December 28
All is calm, all is bright.
Maybe it is in the sanitised version of Christmas, with a smiling ox and ass and clean straw, but not in the story in the Bible.
Bethlehem was buzzing. The town was full of people come for the census. All was not calm. All was chaos.
With all these people in one place, God could have sent his angelic choir to announce the birth of his son to the crowds on Bethlehem, or to the people in power in Jerusalem, which was only an hour and a half away.
But the announcement was not to them, the announcement was to a few agricultural shift workers and then later, much later, some astrologers turned up.
The church has been as guilty as any for sugar coating the Christmas story. Christmas has become the big event in Christianised countries. It is much easy to celebrate a birth, a thing of Joy, than Easter, with it’s story of capture torture and death.
Christmas, the real Christmas of the Gospels, is not so nice. Tear away the sweetness of the card images and you are left with a story that includes genocide, all boys under two years old massacred by Herod, with mothers left crying. Mary Joseph and their toddler son Jesus are refugees in Egypt when the Christmas story ends.
Fast forward to the present day and you will find not much change. The big story of the last year has been of refugees from the Middle East (The same area of the world that the first Christmas happened.) arriving in Europe, having left everything behind.
The human story is still the same.
The incarnation is not a simplified, spiritualised, sanctified story, it is about God becoming man in a world of brutal political leaders, genocide and refugees. A world like ours. God is involved in the bad stuff that happens in the world.
So let us do what Jesus would have us do. Get involved. Jesus said, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.” and, “as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
If e are not helping the refugees we are not helping Jesus.