That night there were homeless, abiding in the alleys and crevices of buildings, keeping watch over their assorted plastic grocery bags by night.
And they weren’t your down-on-their-luck homeless who just need a stroke of good fortune and they’ll be back in a good job and an apartment again. No, these are the kind who yell dirty things at women and probably spend the money collected from passerby on drugs or alcohol or other entrapping decisions.
And when the message of God came to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. Hey, for you, too, is come one to rescue, uphold, and help you.” If there had been a crowd watching, a few eyebrows would have been raised because: shoot, those people probably just be unappreciative and end up back on the street, anyway.
And, behold, weirdos from afar arrived, bearing with them their “Coexist” stickers and political Facebook rant-votes for a president anyone in their rightful mind would avoid. They used strange and non-traditional methods to hear from/ follow God. And it was weird.
The whole thing is enough to make your eyes open wide in astonishment before you shake your head over the whole matter.
Perhaps in an alternative universe, the scenes of wood and glass and plastic put on shelves this time of year are realistic and clean and sensible.
Not in this world, though, where Good News of Great Joy sees it fitting to start with the most outcast of us all. The message is this: there is a place for every one of you here, here around the manger. Nothing makes sense…but, it’s somehow better, kinder this way. This way is the one we choose. (This time of year has the potential to make us all better/ more fraternal somehow.) So, we arrange the crouching figurines–those with dirty hands rubbing shoulders with those whose coats are trimmed with gold, their faces all looking at a tiny baby–squishy, wrinkly, small.
Can we trust you, baby? Are you the answer to the questions in each of our hearts? Do you have the ability to love enough to fill all of our aching wounds?
God rest ye, merry gentlemen–let nothing you dismay.