“Yesterday is gone; so is yesterday’s tale. Today, we have a new story to tell.” Rumi
Even though the sun sets on 2017, the cares and concerns of the past year will continue. Our worries simply do not disappear at the stroke of midnight. But neither do our hopes. Rumi reminds us that, we can, and must, change the narrative. The sun is always rising somewhere in the world. Change is constant. The story evolves. New life is on the horizon.
We are still in the midst of Christmastide. The story of the Christ-child has just begun. Our job is to tell it. In face of all that is evil, hateful, and unjust, we must tell the story of justice, love, and mercy. Tell it from the mountaintops. Tell to the face in the mirror. Tell it to your friends. Tell it to the children. Tell it in the city. Tell it to the wicked. Tell it to the lost. Tell it to church, especially the church. Just tell the story. Our very future depends on it.
The way we like to interpret the birth of Jesus is that Mary and Joseph were poor. All we really know is there just wasn’t enough room in the inn. They tried to get a room so they obviously had enough for a night in a first century hotel in Bethlehem. It’s a detail that doesn’t really matter. There are weightier matters at work in this story.
The ancient prophet Micah once wrote the beloved words, “walk humbly with your God.” What could be more humbling than for two parents, penniless or not, to have no other option than to lay their newborn child in a feeding trough? These humble beginnings are woven in the words and deeds of Jesus to the very end. Through his humble nature some are lifted up, while others are brought down alongside the rest of humanity (and rightly so).
Once again God works through an unlikely scenario- in this case an unlikely child.
So, for those of us who celebrate the birth of Jesus today and claim to be his followers, it would serve us well to, once again, be reminded it isn’t about the one we see in the mirror. This child will spend the rest of his earthly life trying to get those who will listen to see “others” and teach people to embrace those “others” with dignity, respect, and mercy, particularly those without the means and voice to advocate for themselves.
So, in the spirit of how it began, walk humbly my friends. Prepare for the unexpected. Embrace the other.