The first Christmas was not a magical holiday homecoming story full of family turkey dinners, carol singing, and football games. Rather, the first Christmas is a refugee story. It tells of a young, poor, homeless asylum-seeking couple who fearfully flee their country and become residents in a foreign land to save their child’s life.
Yet it is also a story of hope. It is in the midst of this violent and fearful event when God shows up in the flesh: not as a king who has worldly power but as one of the marginalized. God shows up in the flesh in a dirty stable, as a vulnerable baby, to a terrified young homeless couple on the margins of society.
It is this God in the flesh–this Immanuel, “God with us”– who personally understands us in our human suffering and shows up in our most lonely and fearful moments. This God offers us hope. We can find some peace, knowing God hears our cries.
This message is excerpted from “A God who shows up” by Emily Heitzman in the December 2021 Cafe online magazine. Today we commemorate the Holy Innocents, martyrs.
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