I usually have my brain explode by this time in the lead up to Christmas. Usually by now some liberal theologian has compared the plight of refugees to Mary
and Joseph, claimed that they were homeless, and somehow tried to make political hay out of the heart of the Christmas narrative, Homelessness is a social disease that should be treated , not a form of heroism that should be protected. It took longer this time because the social justice warriors had a lot of other
things on their minds like the denial of due process, the destruction of personal privacy in phone records, and trying to figure out new and innovative ways to deny the will of voters.
So here is my usual rant, just a little bit later this year. Mary and Joseph were not homeless. They had a home In Nazareth in Galilee, and some historians believe they must’ve had property in or around Bethlehem otherwise the census makes no sense. If a census is taken to see how many people are living in a particular place and a particular time to try and figure out how many government services and programs they need like we do today, making them leave that place is counterproductive. If the census was taken to register people from hometowns or ancestral places so the family property rights could be understood this census makes sense. Add into that the concept of Jubilee years and the return of property to rightful owners every 50 years, a process that ceased among the Jews there was some need to figure out who owned what and why and for how long. WHY? So it could be taxed. It is also a perfect picture of governments, over arching governments, doing what they do best, and that is disrupting the lives of everybody. So-called scholars, and of course wanna be politicians who have never seen a tax they didn’t like, pooh-pooh the idea of a census where people had to leave their homes and have completely disrupted lives. They love to talk about Mary and Joseph being homeless as if it is a virtue while at the same time denying the power and efficacy of their child who was
born in the manger in Bethlehem. Anyway I digress. Mary and Joseph are not homeless! At the worst he was a typical husband who forgot to make reservations.
Of course the other stupidity that gets my ire going was the manger scene around some church in some liberal enclave in which Mary and Joseph and the baby are portrayed in cages. No matter how many pictures from the Obama era of people in cages are shown with timestamps on them, Donald Trump will be forever calumnized as the one who put migrants in cages. Liar’s will always repeat their lies and there’s nothing we can do about that. The fact that the more often the lie is told leads to it’s acceptance by a large group of people and there is something we can do about that. We can tell the truth. Mary and Joseph were certainly not political refugees when they came to Bethlehem. They probably were political refugees when they left. The murderous intentions of another desperate despot forces them to go to Egypt. I don’t know what kind of border crossings, visa applications, or other nonsense they had to go through but the fact is they left their home and probably financed the trip through the gifts of the magi. They were able to come home again and because of Joseph’s fears they move back to Nazareth. So there is a lot of stuff in the Christmas story that is told with such a sparsity of information that legends are invented and additions come to fill the blanks. The story is rich with pathos and love and joy and adventure as it is. There is no need to take the greatest story ever told and embellish it with poverty where there was none. We can establish the political agenda of a Herod that can lead to the massacre of hundreds of baby boys around Bethlehem but if we compare that to abortion we are called out of order. Claiming that the holy family were the equivalent of illegal immigrants and placing the manger in a cage to lie about our politics should be off limits too. Our politics are abhorrent enough without outrageous flights of fancy meant to “raise awareness”.