Christmas vision

Psalm 113
A Catholic priest once said, “The poor tell us who we are, the prophets tell us who we could be. So, we hide the poor and kill the prophets.”

That certainly mirrors the biblical account of our walk with God. Of course, we don’t kill prophets today, right? Maybe not in a physical sense.

But have you heard of God’s people threatening to take their money to a different church? Do you know there are people whose life’s purpose seems to be to overly criticize every decision a pastor makes? I just spent the better part of 15 minutes scrolling through a colleague’s Facebook. I was searching for a post about a recent comment a parishioner made to them. It was more than a comment. It was a barrage of accusations and scoldings. My friend’s entire ministry was called into question. Even, somehow and for some reason, their sexuality.

This stemmed from my friend’s challenge to some unloving, unChristlike behaviors. 

I couldn’t find the comment. If I know my friend, its removal was a way to care for their parishioner.

Trust me, the examples can mount up.

And what of the poor? Do we hide them? Well, I’ll tell you this. In my pastoral ministry, no one’s jumped at “letting” or “allowing” someone considered poor to be a part of leadership. Do only rich or successful people have gifts for ministry? We’ll excuse the bad or offense behavior of someone we know to be influential and, let’s say, not poor. All the while, it seems, the poor person has to work for that kind of grace.

Now, we’re preparing to celebrate Christmas this weekend. What does all this have to do with the holiday spirit? Everything, really. How can we celebrate Christ’s humble origins and still find ways to malign those in need? How do we listen to a Savior whose purpose was to bring good news to the poor while we cater our ministries to every other target audience?

Remember, we aren’t merely welcoming a baby into the world. That’s an awesome wonder in and of itself. But we are welcoming the King of Kings, supposedly, into our hearts. If that’s our intent, let’s make sure our vision aligns with his.

Listen to God’s vision. The psalmist perceived it was worthy of praise. The Lord, being “high above all nations and his glory above the heavens” is worthy of praise. God is “seated on high,” but finds a way to look far down on the heavens and earth. Imagine the scope of distance in the psalmist’s mind.

And when God looks down, notice the purpose. It’s to raise the poor from the dust and lift the needy from the ash heap. Plus, with God’s help, they are able to “sit with princes.” The barren woman finds a home, too.


Because God sees with a different heart. God gave us prophets to show us the way of truth. And God doesn’t hide the poor. God raises them. How can that vision of humanity change the way you celebrate Christmas?
Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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