Advent begins this Sunday. Christians around the world will spend four holy weeks preparing our hearts for the birth of the long-awaited savior, Jesus.
Jesus, born in a barn because no one cared to make room for him in the inn.
Jesus, born in a land occupied by a violent, selfish, greedy invading force.
Jesus, whose parents fled to Egypt with him when he was a baby because scores of children his age were dying in their homeland.
Jesus, whose skin was brown.
Jesus, who lived in poverty his whole life.
Jesus, who was tortured.
Jesus, was was brutally and unjustly executed.
Jesus, who said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”
And then in 2016, in the name of Jesus, 80% evangelicals went to the polls and voted for a man whose agenda is not only different, but antithetical, to everything Jesus taught.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals refuse to make room for immigrants.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals spend billions of dollars to start unfounded wars and spend decades occupying places we have no business being.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals refuse to help immigrants who are trying to get to a safe place because in their homeland, scores of children are dying every day.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals discriminate against people whose skin is darker than ours.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals refuse help to impoverished people, and refuse to work to end the system of greed and discrimination and selfishness that causes poverty in the first place.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals sanctioned waterboarding and other forms of torture.
In the name of Jesus, evangelicals support the death penalty, the NRA, lax gun laws and other policies that lead to people being unjustly executed.
In the state of evangelicalism today, Jesus’ birth isn’t a cause for celebration. It’s a cause for deep grief, mourning and repentance. Because the Jesus most evangelicals celebrate at Christmas is the one who grew up to condemn the very acts most evangelicals participate in today.
“Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”
You can’t celebrate Jesus, let alone claim to follow him, while condoning imprisoning 14,000 unaccompanied migrant children, showering families with young children with tear gas, demeaning people of color, or turning a deaf ear to people pleading for help.
Christmas should be cancelled until we’re actually ready to welcome Jesus into our hearts, our homes, our thinking, our voting, our actions, our words, our lives….until we’re ready to recognize Jesus in the eyes of everyone. Especially the “least of these.”