They didn’t get to register at Babies R Us for all the newest bottles and diapers and seats, and since they were pregnant before their marriage, no one would have bought them anything anyway. Think about how couples who got pregnant before marriage were treated less than 50 years ago in this very church.
The doctor didn’t come visit them in their room, they didn’t get in for regular check ups. They didn’t get to paint the new nursery. The birth of Jesus happened in the midst of a group of refugees - forced to leave their homes so that occupying forces could conduct a census of the population.
I think it is hard for us to identify with the downtrodden - with the underdog - with the one who has been abused and turned away by the world, because we don’t want to be that person. We don’t want to open up the possibility that it could happen to us. It is so much more comfortable if we can blame another person’s misfortune on their bad choices - instead of realizing that there are systems in our world that keep people down.
When we hear about the sexism that women experience every day, or we hear more and more stories of racism that has followed our country into the 21st century - it can be hard to process. It can be hard to comprehend something that we don’t experience. It can be hard to be compassionate to people who have snuck into our country seeking a good paying job, and a better life for their family - or to those who are leaving their own homes because of war - because we can’t even grasp having to deal with those struggles ourselves.
But here is the thing: God loves the downtrodden. God loves the underdog. God lifts up the ones that the world has rejected. Scripture after scripture tells us this, but no story of the Bible tells it better than the nativity. Jesus came into the world in the midst of all of that. He was born to unwed refugee parents in the midst of war and violence - and that is where God chose to break through into our world.
May we be willing to be there, where God breaks through, even when it is in a world different than ours, may we open our ears to hear the stories of God’s people, their struggles and celebrations. May we work for redemption - even when it makes us uncomfortable.
- Bob Brown, Pastor