This LINK is to a very good reflection on Advent and Christmas. Something we really should consider in the midst of the overwhelming numbers of sisters and brothers that are living in poverty and houseless, along with the millions of refugees worldwide, and those who are part of the caravan sitting at the our southern border.
It is not so much a matter of charity as it is a matter of biblical justice. Although many believe that we cannot mix religion and politics, the entire biblical narrative does exactly that. Religion, politics and economics cannot be separated. They are intrinsically interconnected.
An excerpt: “Each year as Advent draws closer, it warrants time spent thinking about ways we can meaningfully practice the virtues of patience, stillness and quiet so we can connect with the Nativity story. Our lives are filled with contradictions as we try both to celebrate the season and to be patient as the holiday approaches. We are often distracted by tasks that need to be completed: holiday shopping, preparations for travel, parties with friends and coworkers, and decorating our homes. Amid all of these activities, it can be nearly impossible to carve out the quiet we need to enter into the Incarnation.
Everything we know about the birth of Jesus tells us that Mary and Joseph lived on the margins of society. Jesus was born in a stable, the only option left to Mary and Joseph in their time of need, as scripture tells us there was no room at the inn for them. He was a king who slipped quietly into the paranoid and brutal world of Herod. His parents were overjoyed, yet afraid of what this birth would mean for them as a family.
From the very beginning of his life, Jesus was a threat to those in power. After his birth, Mary and Joseph had to flee immediately to Egypt as Herod searched for him, knowing who this child was. Jesus was also the most unlikely of kings to come into the world in the first century in Galilee: poor, vulnerable, displaced and in need of protection. Much like those who live on the margins of society today, Jesus and his family faced challenges that required others to help them.
The story of the Incarnation can’t be separated from this situation that Mary and Joseph found themselves in at the time of Jesus’ birth, and today it can’t be separated from seeing in our own communities those who live on the margins. By reaching out to those on the margins, we allow God to enter into our lives; we begin to understand the reality of what it is to be poor and in need of relying on something much greater than ourselves. Poverty reveals God in a way that dismisses the material items of this world and puts dependence only on a God who came as someone who was poor among us. However, poverty is not something to be romanticized as a way to know God better, nor should we hold those on a pedestal who experience the type of poverty that leaves a great dependence on God. The story of the Incarnation should alone tell us that along with poverty comes fear and loneliness — but it is in those places where, hopefully, God can enter into our lives.”