By Dr. Kevin Thomas —
Christmas! It’s a mystical, wonderful time of the year. Our minds fill with images of angels and shepherds, a young family gathered in a stable, and strange visitors following a star from a distant land. There are announcements of miraculous births along with both doubters and believers from the very beginning. It’s a wonderful story to tell by the Christmas tree or at children’s bedsides.
But, there’s more going on. More than a sweet story of a special child’s birth, that first Christmas was an empire shaking event! The arrival of the Christ Child threatened the very power structures that formed the fabric of the First Century world. The presence of a Baby in Bethlehem terrorized King Herod to the extreme of committing infanticide throughout the city. From His birth, the infant rattled the foundations of oppressors, dictators, and despots.
Jesus was the most unlikely of heroes. He was born into the poverty of a stable. Before He was two, He was a fugitive on the run from the law, a stranger in a strange land-an immigrant in Egypt. After Herod’s death, He migrated from Egypt to a small town in the middle of nowhere that got absolutely no one’s respect. At one point, even His own neighbors tried to kill Him.
Jesus came into the world as the fulfillment of promise, but to many people, He was a threat. Political leaders feared His popularity with the common people. He offended religious leaders when He challenged their laws and their hypocrisy, and He outraged them when He honored the religious outcasts. He ushered in a subversive kingdom that undermines the values of this world. He proclaimed a new world order where last are first, the oppressed are freed, the outcasts are welcomed, and where the law of love trumps all other statutes. His message was so revolutionary it cost Him His life, yet in His resurrection, the movement continues.
So, this special season, I invite you to celebrate a subversive Christmas. Welcome the stranger. Feed the hungry. Hang out with the outcasts. Liberate the oppressed. Share Good News with the poor. Let’s celebrate Christmas by doing the very things that Christ came to do!