The Gospel of Luke tells the story of the Birth of Jesus. In this well written story, we are carried along by the narrative to a climax that is intended to leave us with hope. First, there is politics at the highest levels. An executive order is issued and delivered by the authorities and, in a scene reminiscent of the present displacement in Aleppo, Syria, citizens are made to move with haste. So Joseph takes his bride to be, who is expecting, and goes to his family’s town to be counted by the government. While there, Mary went into labor and driven by the desperation of the moment, gave birth to Jesus in a stable, were she wrapped him in rags and placed him in a feeding stall for animals. Angels are dispatched to announce the birth, and joined by a multitude of heavenly host sang the first carol of Christmas,
“Glory in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”
Christmas is about hope. This hope is that which breaks in when we are least expecting it, and somehow helps us find meaning in our present situations. I, and perhaps many like me, who value civil rights and care about justice, desperately need this hope of Christmas. Despair has set in as we witness politics on a national and state level. November 8th and subsequent actions have us wondering if we as a state and a country are moving backwards, to a time of separate and unequal. Just in time, here comes Christmas, as it did for Longfellow years ago. There is hope!
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Matthews is pastor at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church.