Christmas Is Subversive

With blurred multicolored Christmas lights in the background, a small Jesus-in-the-manger from a nativity scene is in half-light.

One of the great things about Christmas is that it is a sturdy holiday. Christmas doesn’t wimp out when times are hard – it comes anyway, even if there are hardly any presents, even when there isn’t much food to make a feast with, even if you’re sad, even if the world around you is at war, even if you are living in fear and danger and oppression, Christmas still comes.

And when it comes, Christmas is subversive. Christmas, with its story of an unwed mother and a doubtful father; with its legend of a helpless baby, born in a stable, who was worshipped by some of the wisest, richest men in the world; with its tale of the child pursued by the deadly wrath of kings, who escaped as a refugee to a foreign land far from home.

Christmas, with its ancient, enduring summons of peace on earth, good will to all people, everywhere. You can’t stop a day like that with a little hardship, or greed, or injustice. It will show up anyway, shining the light of a midnight star into the darkest places of our collective lives.

Do not underestimate the power of the manger, and the hope it holds. The Christmas song of the angels is not as innocent as it sounds. It has turned the world upside down before now. It still can.