A Christmas Reflection
Christmas is about human exclusion as much as divine solidarity. “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
A couple excluded from the hotels and guest-houses of their home town, and later forced to flee as refugees from state persecution. A child who is excluded from his community and eventually from life itself, dying in solidarity with all who suffered the shame of crucifixion.
The best way to celebrate Christmas, therefore, is to reflect on- and repent of – the way we exclude other people and other voices from intruding on our comfortable existence.
I think today, Christmas Eve, especially of my Palestinian Christian brethren. They are caught in a vulnerable position between, on the one hand, an aggressive Israeli settler movement and an equally aggressive Islamist militancy, on the other. Rarely, if ever, are their voices heard in mainstream secular news media.
The only exposure to Palestinians on “Christian” news channels is of stone-throwing children or the remains of suicide-bombers. How humiliated Palestinian Christians must feel by constant references on the part of Western Christians to “the Holy Land” (a sentimental phrase that is not found in the Bible) combined with a wilful ignorance of history and a fundamentalist abuse of “biblical prophecy”. The global Church needs to listen to their voice.
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