So now we are hearing from the far right that diversity is bad. “Diversity is not our strength.” Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one. Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left. Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength. "I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?" These are the words of Iowan congressman Steve King. He is part of the alt right conservatives who are attempting to take over our country. They think this is not racist tripe. And what is even more befuddling is they think they are the Christians and the rest of us are either heretics or pagans.
So in this season of Christmas I choose to remind everyone that Jesus’ birth is one of the most diverse stories ever told. It begins with a Middle Eastern couple. A young woman is pregnant and apparently the child is not her betrothed’s, Joseph. Joseph the father is a blue collar carpenter without much money. But the Roman government (the white elite folks in this drama) want more taxes from the citizens of this invaded country. So Joseph and his pregnant betrothed travel to their homeland Bethlehem. They are homeless and cannot find room at the inn and have to stay with the animals in the cave.
Shepherds, the poor laborers of the day, hear of this baby born in a cave and rush to see and offer the family gifts. But they are not the only ones. Three wise men from different countries come to bring gifts to this child. They ask the white man in charge where this baby might be. And he sends them off with a “let me know if you find this special baby.” The white man in charge is not one to take chances so he plans to kill off all of the babies under two in the land so that a rebellion might not take place. A rebellion might not have taken place immediately but I am sure this attack left many a family with hate in their hearts against this imperialist government from afar.
The wise men take a different road on the way back to their various countries. Joseph gets wind of the white man’s scheme to kill all babies under two and he and his family leave Israel to go to Africa/Egypt which takes in the refugees. They appear to have been taken care of and when it is deemed safe they returned to the Middle East.
This is a story full of different classes and ethnic groups, none of whom seem to assimilate but offer the treasures they have from their coffers. They give a little of themselves and the story is said to be the beginning of the redemption of the world.
But it is not just the story of Jesus’ birth that shouts appreciation of different cultures; it is the stories he lives and tells throughout his life. The good neighbor (a Samaritan) is from across the border from Israel. The centurion is a white invader from another land that he offers healing to his son. He has prostitutes, women, lepers and even tax collectors (which of you would take an IRS agent into your home) into his inner circle. His life is full of diversity. He does not demand anything from anyone but that they love their neighbors and their God. For this radical idea he is crucified on the white man’s cross with his own people agreeing to the punishment.
But this is not the Christ the alt right would know. Their Christ is seen somewhere: not in a manger or on a cross, but in Trump Tower or Wall Street. Now that is some messed up thinking! Merry Christmas to all and may the spirit of the babe in a manger come once to live in our hearts. O Come, O Come Emanuel.