Message to last beyond Christmas

An interesting article was recently published on by E.J. Dionne, a Washington Post columnist.  The article titled “Message to Last Beyond Christmas: Choose Love Over Status”, dives into what Christmas is all about and a message we should remember all year.

“When you ponder what Christmas celebrates, the holiday’s claim is staggering.

N.T. Wright, the widely read biblical scholar and former Anglican bishop, captures its import by noting that the Gospels do not cast Jesus as “parachuting down from a great height to dispense solutions to all problems nor zapping everything into shape like some kind of Superman.”

Rather, Wright observes in his book Simply Good News, Christ is shown as “living in the mess and muddle of a very difficult part of the world at an especially difficult moment in its history and absorbing the pain and the shame of it all within his own life, within his own body.”

Everything about the Christmas account portrays a world turned upside down. A new king heralded as the Son of God comes into the world quite inauspiciously, born in a manger surrounded by farm animals as part of a working-class family. This is a radical inversion of how God or gods were typically understood at the time: mighty and all-powerful beings, lording it over often hapless humans. The Christmas story is about God becoming one of us, and a particularly humble member of our company at that.

This is why Christmas has always been a fundamentally subversive holiday, and why Christianity, an organic outgrowth of prophetic Judaism, has always been at root a radical faith.

In preparation for the commemoration of Christ’s birth, the Roman Catholic calendar of readings for the Third Sunday of Advent this year included this passage from the 61st chapter of Isaiah:

He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
To heal the broken-hearted
To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners

You don’t have to be Jewish to experience the liberating message of the Exodus story. And you don’t have to be a Christian to feel elation over the idea that a fallen world can be redeemed. The poor, the broken-hearted, the captives, and the prisoners do not have to be left to their fate and their suffering. Every year at this time, we are called to renew our hope that cold indifference and smug complacency can be overcome by a humble and gentle love powerful enough to inspire wise men, shepherds, and even angels.”


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