Tuesday of the First Week
If we think of the Christmas season as Advent-Nativity-Epiphany there is still only one focal point in that triptych- the Child.
In the readings for today it is the child on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests; it is the child who will guide the calf and the young lion to browse together. A child will play by the cobra’s den and the child who will lay his hand on the adder’s lair. But why these treacherous images? The whole passage is filled with unacceptable, frightening juxtapositions. Why? Who would ever place a child in the midst of such danger?
The immigrant crisis in our world today is imaged by thousands of people on the move, carrying their few belongings; over-crowded rubber boats with some jumping overboard to swim to shore; it is tents, tents, and more tents…children have been born in these tents and now think of this tent as home as they reach 5 years old. They have never been anywhere else.
If Christmas has any meaning, if the incarnation has the central place in our tradition, then we must spend time with these people and especially with the children. Incarnation means that God is found here. The child in the Christmas triptych takes on our flesh.
Never forget when you saw the body on the beach in Turkey of the little drowned Syrian boy. He was two and his name was Alan. He wore a red t-shirt, shorts and sneakers, just like every other little boy his age.
Never forget the boy placed in the ambulance who sat alone, quietly, wiping the blood and dirt from his face. He is five; his name is Omran. He is from Aleppo. His older brother, Ali, died that day from more serious wounds than Omran had.
The incarnation is all about “admirabile commercium: - an incredible exchange. The divine becomes human and the human has the potential to grow into the divine.
How do you understand this human-divine exchange when you remember these two boys? The question is not only what can we do for migrant peoples, but also: what do we learn from those who are willing to risk everything for what they believe is better?
-Tobie Tondie, SHCJ, Lecturer, Theology and Religious Studies Department