The Advent Season and Rethinking Immigration
Dec 17, 2010 by M. Daniel Carroll R. | 0 Comments
The birth of Jesus—that is, the coming of the Messiah—should impact everything we do and how we approach each dimension of life. That would include our life in society, too. That means relationships with all those with whom we come into contact face-to-face, as well as those whom we know about only through the media and other means and with whom we do not actually engage directly.
Jesus came into this world in that ancient society’s eyes as the illegitimate son of a couple from a small town in Galilee, an area that some Jews frowned upon. He was born away from his hometown in humble, even shocking, circumstances. Of course, marginalization—even rejection—would mark his ministry and end in his death. The Gospel of John declares, “He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him” (John 1:11). Mary, echoing the words of the song of Hannah in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 2:1-10), recognizes that God works with the lowly and exalts them above the proud (Luke 1:46-55).
God’s gracious welcome characterized the ministry of Jesus. He engaged sinners, the sick, women, and non-Jews—Samaritans and even military commanders of the enemy, the Romans. Jesus’ parable of the final banquet underscores how wide are the concerns of God, and how narrow ours often are.
How should these Christmas realities impact our attitude toward immigrants, in particular those who are undocumented? Are they not society’s marginalized and the lowly, who work difficult jobs for long hours? Can we limit the extension of God’s grace through us and still call ourselves his followers? This is not to minimize the complications of today’s legal situation and all of the other pragmatic issues that demand solutions, but these spiritual truths should shape our attitudes toward the strangers among us.
Enjoy the Christmas season… and let the Spirit of Jesus fill our hearts in every way as we look beyond ourselves to the humble among us.