The Real Christmas Story... A single unwed teenage mother of enslaved people of color, living in poverty gave birth to a child, with no place to lay their head. This birth was revealed to the working class, despised and poor shepherds. Kings, mystics of other races, nationalities, and religions came to see this child. The child and his family fled as refugees to Egypt to escape a genocide of young children as ordered by a puppet King of the Roman Empire... That is the Christmas story in its real and raw earthy form. So why in light of the historical context of this story does western capitalist religion, particularly Christianity, not teach this reality?
The reasoning it is not taught is varied, but I believe the core reasoning for this has a lot to do with those in leadership in the church and religious institutions, aspiring for and seeking power. The institutionalization and corporatization of religion has led to a dangerous coziness between the church, corporations and the government. The church has bowed to Caesar! This surrender has made it possible for the commodification of religion and holidays like Christmas, the blurring of church and state, the power of the "Christian" right, and their unabashed support of Trump.
To truly teach the inclusivity, diversity and circumstances of the birth of Jesus in its context would be devastating to the toxic relationship of the church and its religious affiliates. It would turn things upside down! It would mean that ministers and religious leaders must speak truth to power, truth to their congregations and truth to the wealthy and powerful that attend their churches, donate money, populate their deacon and elder board. This would likely bring down the mega-church empires, religious TV empires and political relationships with government.
And yet there it is. The very real story that must be told. The story of the Christ child from the margins of society, in all its raw beauty and truth. A story that speaks to the poor, dispossessed, oppressed classes of the world. May we have the courage to recapture that vision and speak the truth, especially in faith based circles and to those in power! Merry Christmas!