25 December 2015

Jesus was a refugee and other thoughts - Christmas 2015

As a Christian, you end up hearing the story of Christmas so many times that you end up not always appreciating it. Recently, I attended an event with a series of monologues by various characters in the Christmas story that helped remind me of some of the practical matters relating to it.

Like the following:
  • Mary was a teenage girl who get unexpectedly pregnant out of wedlock. That still carries considerable social stigma in many cultures, including my own (adults much less so) and Joseph must have had one eye on his own reputation.
  • Nazareth to Bethlehem, as the crow flies, is about 111km or 70 miles. Today, it's a 3 3/4 hour journey by public transport that involves multiple changes and a detour around most of the West Bank; Bethlehem itself is in Palestinian territory. The direct route would have involved travelling on unpaved roads and that's a multi-day journey by foot or donkey; especially with a heavily pregnant woman, not to mention other attendant dangers, that's not an easy trek.
  • Giving birth at this time would have been hard and attendant with risks; giving birth is generally hard, even if the result is worth it.
  • Then, after Herod decides to kill a large number of babies, the family had to flee to relatives in Egypt until the puppet ruler had died. This basically makes the holy family refugees - and sadly, there have been far, far too many refugees being 'created' this year.
That said, Jesus came to bring hope for a better world. He has enriched my lives and many others. While a lot of bad has been done in his name, so has a great deal of good - such as the food banks in my own borough, helping needy people at this time.

Things will get better, God has promised that!

With that, I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas.

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