My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. Each Christmas Eve I request that someone sing it. My favorite phrase is 'Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.'
How could the coming of the Christ Child dare to be proclaimed as the end to oppression and catalyst for justice across the entire world?
Because he is going to address oppression where it begins - in the human heart. It can only be crushed by cleansing the heart of its need to exploit and deny the free will of another.
I would love to say that this is a gift we have received in its fullness. But we all know that although the world has certainly changed for the better over the centuries, we have a long way to go until our world is characterized by a place where justice dwells for each person.
There are a lot of voices calling for separation this season - separation of races, religions, political parties, police officers and civilians - to name a few. But nothing stings of injustice more than dehumanizing someone by treating a person as a category. All justice is ultimately individual justice.
If we are going to enjoy a world where justice reigns, we must stop looking at someone else to change things. We can't look to institutions and power to do our work for us. It will only be individually and through influence that the human heart changes. It comes as OUR hearts are transformed. It can come no other way.
So the next time you notice the words 'those people' come out of your mouth, remember that each and every one of 'those people' is a child of God who is loved just as much as you and I are.
Question of the Day: What is your favorite Christmas song?