The Christmas Story from Luke 2, circa 2019

An adaptation I wrote of the gospel of Jesus according to Luke, chapter 2

In those days, a decree went out from the Attorney General that domestic violence and gang violence would no longer be considered grounds for asylum and a proclamation went out from the government that required migrants from Central America to first apply for asylum in the countries they pass through instead. These were not the first restrictions on migration issued by the government of the United States.

Multitudes fled their own towns of origin to seek asylum. José also went from the town of San Antonio, Quiché in Guatemala, through Mexico, to the southernmost border of the United States, because he could no longer grow crops or find work that would allow him to support and feed his family. He went to seek asylum with María, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. José and María crossed the southern border of the US near El Paso and while they were travelling, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son in a shack near El Paso, Texas, wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a crate, because there was no place for them to go. Days later José and María were apprehended and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the El Paso Processing Center. They were placed in a makeshift holding cell constructed of chain-link wire and resembling a cage.

In that region there were guardians—human rights activists, people of faith, attorneys—living in the United States, keeping watch over children who had been separated from their parents at the border. Then an angel of God stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of El Paso, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and being held in a cage.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “¡Gloria a Dios en el cielo más alto, y en la tierra paz entre los que él favorece!

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the guardians said to one another, “Let us go now to the El Paso Processing Center and see this thing that has taken place, which God has made known to us.” So they went with haste but found that María, José, and the child had been separated from one other and were being held at different detention centers across the country. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the guardians told them.

But María, though separated from her son and expecting to be deported back to Guatemala without him, treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The guardians returned, glorifying and praising God in spite of all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them, and worked even more diligently for an end to the government’s inhumane treatment of migrants and the policy of family separation.

nativity in cages

The Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church depicts the Holy Family separated as refugees in cages. Photo: Rev. Karen Clark Ristine

The Christmas Story, circa 2018

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