Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, his place is with those others for whom there is no room. Christ’s place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in the world. Christ is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst … With these Christ conceals himself, in these he hides himself, for whom there is no room.
– Thomas Merton
The manger scene was never meant to only be lifted up as a story of humble beginnings. The Christmas story is about survival under an Empire. Mary and Joseph could not find a room because they did not fit anywhere else but in a barn. And I wonder how many other people, not including the animals, were present for Jesus’ birth. How many others were displaced on that holy night? And how many people continue to be displaced today through climate change, governments abusing their citizens, and the long arms of global capitalism forcing whole societies to be reconfigured under its gaze?
This Christmas I am praying for Syrian and all refugees that they may find a safe place to reside.
I am praying for those caught up in the prison industrial complex that we can begin to abolish prisons in 2016.
I am praying for immigrants everywhere that they might start again wherever their destination.
I am praying for those struggling for another world, where black lives matter, where direct democracy reigns, and the Earth is treated with dignity that I too may be part of the struggle.
I pray for the poor and the poor in spirit that they may find communities of love and resistance.
May you encounter the manger scenes that surround you everyday and be transformed by them.