A question for you on this Christmas feast: "In whom do you think that God is actually working?" The faithful? The righteous? The good or intelligent? Who is building the Kingdom of God, or the world as God wants it?
In the Gospel of Luke, the story of Jesus' birth isn't set in the powerful and majestic city of Jerusalem. Instead, it unfolds in a humble stable, far away from home, and the angels announce Jesus' arrival to shepherds, who were considered outcasts by society. This detail isn't merely symbolic. It's a profound declaration of God's preference for the marginalised. God's choice to reveal the divine presence among those on the fringes is a deliberate statement, challenging our societal norms and expectations about where and with whom the divine chooses to reside.
This narrative invites us to rethink our perceptions of the divine, encouraging us to seek God beyond conventional structures of power and privilege. In our contemporary world, marred by divisions and disparities, this message of divine preference for the marginalised is as pertinent and transformative as ever.
In the first chapter of Luke's Gospel, we hear Mary's song, proclaimed while she was pregnant with Jesus, which echoes God's promise – a promise of uplifting the lowly and satisfying the hungry. As we contemplate nativity this Christmas, let's also embrace the vision of a world reshaped by God's justice and love, where social hierarchies are upended in favour of divine equity.
This season, let us open our hearts wider, allowing ourselves to recognise God's presence in the unexpected. Just as the star of Bethlehem, visible to all, once led wise men to a newborn king in modest surroundings, remember that everyone could see the star! May it guide us to discern God's work in acts of compassion, in the pursuit of justice, and in every moment of sincere empathy.
Recognising that our call to include and elevate the marginalised isn't just about doing the 'right' thing or seeing ourselves as superheroes is crucial. It's about understanding that God is actively building the Kingdom through the marginalised and the unexpected. Their stories, struggles, and perspectives often reveal the most profound expressions of faith, resilience, and divine action. This Christmas, let's commit not just to helping or supporting the marginalised as an act of charity but to genuinely listening to and learning from them, understanding that they are not just recipients of God's love but active participants in God's work. In this way, we're not just offering assistance – we're joining in a divine movement that transforms the world and ourselves in unexpected and beautiful ways.
So who do you think God is working through? The faithful? The intelligent? The strong?
This Christmas, may we find the strength to seek and serve Christ in every person we encounter, especially the marginalised, embracing God's preferential love and finding the divine in places and faces we might have previously overlooked.