The stories of the Bible–including the Nativity–were written by oppressed people, for oppressed people. They offer an alternative vision to the systems of power, greed, oppression, and violence that perpetually kept them suppressed, silenced, extorted, and violated. These stories present the possibility of how God imagines humanity co-existing and co-creating with the creator.
It is easy for people like me–white, middle-class, comfortable–to forget this important reality. We like to domesticate these stories and sentimentalize them with cute children in bath robes and wings. We like to enjoy the benefits of the dominant system and distort our interpretive lenses to make the Bible stories exclusively about my personal piety and eternal fire-insurance.
We must never forget.
The nativity is a story of non-violent resistance to a violent domination system. The baby born in Bethlehem spoke truth to power and offered a better way; a way of love, forgiveness, inclusion, wholeness, and shalom.
This is the preferred and promised future that God invites us to live into each day.
In 2019 I preached a sermon for Christmas Eve that attempted to capture this spirit through drawings. To set the tone I played the Imperial March from Star Wars as I read the opening lines of the Christmas story.
Below are the images. May they speak to you this year. May we join the resistance and grow deeper in the love of God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world.
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