The God on the Margins
The days after Christmas can feel like a letdown. Not only are all the excitement, gift-giving, big feasts, and special church services with carols and candlelight gone, but the ordinary world quickly intrudes upon our holiday feelings. The demands of work, life, and home, and the continued evidence of the brokenness of the world can make dull our Christmas glow.
The same thing happens in our biblical stories, where the Christmas story is quickly followed by a tragedy of violence and oppression, as we read about the massacre of the innocents at King Herod’s command. It is a sudden, jarring change from a story we find so sweet and uplifting. Can’t we linger a little longer with the magi and their gifts before we witness Jesus, Mary, and Joseph driven from their home, fleeing persecution and death, and watch as the women of Bethlehem mourn their slain sons?
But this reminds us that the Christmas story is not simply about a baby born in a manger in a charming tableau. It’s not even just about a baby born to poor parents with nowhere else to go. It’s a story that demonstrates that Christ is among those who are the most marginalized—the oppressed, the refugee, the persecuted. It is at the margins where we find Jesus, and thus, where we find the heart of God.
Rev. Mark Schaefer, Pastor