By Bill Mefford
One of the things I love about Christmas - that so many people love about Christmas - is the family time. It is the perfect time to turn everything off and just be with family. Yeah, I love it.
The last thing I know any of us want to think about is the man in the Oval Office (I am trying to not even mention his name anymore if I can help it). But this morning I read Mary’s Magnificat and I could not help but think of this outlaw and oppressive administration. Let me remind us how Mary sang her praise of God, and I will provide some timely interpretation that seems to jump out at us as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for God has looked with favor on the most lowly of servants.
Mary sings of God’s continued promise to protect those who are oppressed and marginalized through this administration’s dehumanizing policies: undocumented immigrants, refugees, Muslims, women and low-income families struggling to get by while this administration rhetorically panders to their values of false patriotism while betraying their economic needs and instead, using their power to fulfill the luxuries of the rich and powerful through such things as the tax cut bill.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is God’s name.
God’s mercy is for those who fear God
from generation to generation.
God stands with those who are marginalized by this administration as well as by the political establishment overall. While this administration has tried relentlessly to kill and kick out undocumented immigrants and refugees, there have been respites from this oppression: the Courts have stopped them from time to time and brave congregations have provided sanctuary in the face of such blatant evil. Our trust is in the One who was born in a stable, but yet who was a King; who made his home among the most vulnerable, the poorest, and the least, but yet whose power would bring down governments. God is the God of the poor. And this government will likely be brought down soon as well.
God has shown strength with God’s arm;
God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
We are seeing before our eyes this administration, and particularly the man who is supposedly in charge, being scattered in the thoughts of their hearts. This administration is currently under seventeen investigations of illegality; seventeen. In one week, the stock market saw it’s greatest downward trend in a decade, US troops were pulled out of Syria based on one conversation with the Turkish dictator, his Secretary of Defense, who some people thought (though not me) was the only adult in the room, stepped down in protest (and whom will be kicked out two months before the date he announced his departure), the man in the Oval Office let it be known he wanted to fire the head of the Federal Reserve (whom he appointed), and, among other things, trump showed he is more influenced by right-wing talking heads and he chose to shut down the government right before Christmas because he wants to build a wall that no one on either side of the immigration debate thinks is anything but a symbolic way to say that we as a country hate brown people (and one he promised that Mexico would pay for). This all happened in one week. To say this administration is “scattered” is the understatement of the year.
God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
And this is where we are beginning to live into Mary’s song of praise to God. Though she sings in the past tense, we sing this Christmas song in the future tense; in hopes of God to bring down the powerful from their thrones and to fill the hungry with all they need and to take away from those who are full that which they have selfishly kept for themselves. This is more than a song of praise; this is a song of revolution. If ever Mary’s song has been correctly targeted against those in affluence and power it is now. More than any hopes we might have for a Mueller investigation, let us this Christmas renew our hope in God who keeps promise throughout the centuries. God has chosen the most vulnerable to shame the proud and powerful. We celebrate Christmas not because Jesus hid from the world, but because he was born into an unjust and cruel world to upend injustice, oppression, and marginalization.
Merry Revolutionary Christmas. Jesus is born!