Associated Press Posted on December 1, 2009 at 1:15 PM
Several programs providing Christmas gifts for needy children are checking immigration status first, requiring at least one member of the household to be a U.S. citizen before handing over toys. The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are asking for children's birth certificates or Social Security cards.
What the f--ilioque is going on with Christmas? I think we've finally gotten what our politics and even many Christians have hoped for: It looks like "immigration policy" has finally trumped Jesus Christ as the "reason for the season".
It seems to me that the birth of Christ is exposing the truth about the state of the world, just as it did 2000 years ago. Many claim America is a "Christian nation", yet at the season of the greatest Gift, the birth of Christ, we politicize the celebration of His Incarnation by legislating the boundaries of unconditional charity and grace in His honor because of the "politics of the aliens among us".
When Jesus came and threatened Herod's kingdom, Herod killed the children to protect his political status and nation.
When the Jewish leadership met to discuss Jesus they determined it was politically expedient to kill Him "lest the Romans come and take away our status and our nation."
When Pilate was confronted with the person of Christ, he delivered Him to be crucified to save his political ass.
The illegals threaten our status and our nation. They threaten our lifestyle because they threaten our economy. They are a burden on our society.
The Jews were commanded to welcome the sojourner among them. They were to leave a tithe of their fields for the alien and the poor to glean. As Christians we are to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisee. As a "Christian nation" do we exceed the demands of the imperfect Law or do we follow Herod, Pilate and the High Priest and his council and trample under foot the gift of God to preserve our comfortable kingdom?
Jesus did not come to rule the world. He already ruled it. His coming made manifest the meaning of the Psalters words, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call on the Name of the Lord."
Jesus came to expose the world for what it is, what it has become through sin, and to save it through an Unspeakable Gift given without regard for citizenship and politics, morals and religion, power or wealth. We are all equally aliens on the earth, sojourners and strangers, we are all poverty stricken, hungry and destitute, all enemies of God and enemies of one another. It would seem that once a year The Gift of unconditional love could be emulated by those who claim to be giving in the "spirit of the season".
I get spam every year at this time about the politics of "keeping Christ in Christmas". And given the politics that surrounded the Gospel of the Incarnation 2000 years ago, in a way it is a fitting irony that Christians are using the legal and political arena and economic pressures on retailers who eschew using the term "Christmas" to get their say in the culture. It is indeed, in one sense, truly "Christmas" because Christ is finally doing in our culture and kingdom what He did the first time: exposed the politics of religion, power and our trust in the chariots and horses of economics and the imaginary stability of our temporal kingdoms and preservation of our lifestyles. But alas, indeed, in another sense it is no longer "Christmas", it is Christlessmas because in the political killing of the Gift to innocent children we have followed in the footsteps of those religio-political leaders who killed our Christ... or at least have tried to.
Herod, the Elders and Pilate... where are they and their economies and kingdoms now in spite of their political machinations, policies and rationalizations to save their status and nations?
Yes boys and girls, Santa is checking his list to see who is naughty and nice. And apparently his list is now the Census. (Hmmm... didn't someone else take a census when Jesus was born?)
May we find His truth in this Advent season, not in ACLU lawsuits, Christian websites identifying "Christmas approved retailers", email spam about Christmas trees, Kwanza and even apologetics about the baptism of the solstice, but by being called in the simplicity of our daily work by angels' voices to come and adore Him who was born rejected, a stranger to His people, outside the city, away from the shops, the palaces and yes, even the churches.
Blessed Nativity to all.
H/T to Barry Young KFYI