Least of these

Last year during December our family went to see a big exhibit of nativity scenes at a nearby college campus. The display included figures from many different cultures around the world, featuring a wide variety of materials, from stone to cornhusks to geodes to horseshoe nails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t checked to see if the university has a similar exhibit this year that we might visit. But the nativity scene that has held my attention most forcefully this year is one mounted by the United Methodist Church of Claremont, California:

 

A post from the church’s senior minister included this text:

“Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death.
What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”

It seems to me that the US government sends a very decisive message to people approaching the southern border, and that message is an echo of a familiar line from Luke 2, read by many during the Christmas season, the line about there being “no room for them in the inn.”

I know that immigration policy is extremely complex, that there are all kinds of factors to consider, many different stakeholders, and lots of laws and principles to balance. But seeing the heroes of the Christmas story separated and caged brings into sharp focus another passage of scripture from the gospel of Matthew:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

[Images: El Guapo, cnn.com]

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