The world pauses tonight, at least in theory. With bated breath we await the announcement of a miraculous birth, the Christ-child, the Prince of Peace. Every year we remember the world-shaking event.
Occasionally I have detailed my struggles in learning German, but when I saw this picture I realized I had learned something. I understood completely, but didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry.
It’s very German, but probably fits in well with Donald Trump’s America though it actually refers to the AFD, the anti-immigration party. My translation of the caption:
Today, brand new, the AFD Nativity Set:
No Jews, no Arabs, no Africans, no refugees. Sensational!
It wasn’t like that on the first Christmas Eve. It was messy, as childbirth so frequently is. Smelly from all the animals. There were shepherds, not exactly high society if you know anything about the culture of the time. There were definitely Jews, as the baby born was himself a Jew. Probably a few Arabs in the area too given the location – these days Bethlehem is part of Palestine, not Israel. In the not too distant future the little family would be come refugees, fleeing from life-threatening oppression.
That first Christmas Eve was definitely not pretty. But it was a bold declaration to the waiting universe that Love had come to earth, that the Word was becoming flesh to dwell among us. Because of that, walls were going to come down. Soon there would be no “Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free.” When the angel chorus appeared to the shepherds they boldly declared a message of peace that transcends human peace.
The nativity set, empty of its characters, is a reminder that there is no place for hate and prejudice in God’s kingdom. Jesus came not as a member of the powerful elite but in humility, a champion of those disadvantaged and oppressed.
On this Christmas Eve, may we realize the truth and power of the Gospel that was first proclaimed so many years ago. May we then put that good news into action, that there truly would be peace on earth.