Christmas for those experiencing injustice.
njustice is everywhere, and sometimes we even notice it.
It’s one of the first things we notice when, as a baby, something doesn’t go our way. Anger, the (mostly) appropriate response to injustice, is one of the first emotions we feel – as the movie Inside Out shows us!
Of course, a baby’s sense of injustice is entirely fixed on his or her immediate experience (and sense that they are the centre of the universe). As we grow older, we begin to understand that injustice is more nuanced, and that our experience of it changes as we are more aware of both who we really are, and that others around us also are treated unjustly – sometimes even by us.
All around us, injustice is evident. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, homelessness, malnutrition, emotional and physical cruelty and abuse, terrorism, bullying… the list is endless and potentially overwhelming. And yet, we so often get most affected by the smaller things – a perceived slight on our character, perhaps, or judging a missed opportunity as ‘injustice’.
We are, of course, more attuned to injustice when it affects us or those we care for (or identify more closely with) – and if we spent each waking minute meditating on the injustice throughout the world we would quickly break…
The first Christmas story is littered with examples of injustice:
- A country under cruel and violent military occupation.
- An expectant mother forced to travel a long and uncomfortable journey.
- A desperate family refused accommodation.
- Infanticide committed by an insecure ruler.
- A family forced to flee to another country as a result.
The king of all creation is reduced to a helpless baby, a man who is pretty much ignored for the next 30 years of his earthly life, is misunderstood in his ministry, is falsely accused of heresy, is tortured and killed by those who feel their interpretation of truth is the only one that can be defended and lived, whose words and deeds are still misunderstood and misrepresented over 2,000 years later.
The Christmas story is about God breaking into creation and bringing justice, and As Christians we are called to challenge injustice wherever we see it. But justice can be slow in coming, and will not always come in forms we recognise.
To bring justice to the weak, he comes as a baby.
To the lonely and lost, he comes as a refugee.
To the religiously certain, he comes smelling of heresy.
To the beaten, he comes as a tortured slave.
To the ostracised, he comes as a member of a despised race.
To the powerful, he comes in poverty.
To you, he comes as Lord.