Jesus can’t make it to Christmas this year. He died on a cold concrete floor in Texas. He was a Guatemalan teenager named Carlos.
These were the words of a friend and colleague, posted on facebook along with this article. If you don’t have time to read it, let me summarize it for you: Border Patrol lied about how 16-year old Carlos died recently in their care. The camera in his cell tells the true story. Here is it: despite the warning from the nurse practitioner on staff that Carlos needed to be checked in 2 hours and taken to the hospital if he did not improve, he was quarantined and ignored. He died of the flu, stumbling around alone his freezing cold cell, crumpling up on the floor under his aluminum “blanket.”
A 16-year-old died of the flu in a prison cell in one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world – a prison cell in which he sat for the crime of fleeing violence in his home country. This is us. This is what we’ve done.
And we are the ones to whom God continues to speak in these words from the fifth chapter of the book of Amos, written thousands of years ago:
I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Imagine a movement that refused to take part in the consumer-oriented, secular Christmas in order to stand in solidarity with the children who are suffering at our border? Imagine the statement that would make, the effects it would have on our national conscience?
I mean it. No buying things. No Christmas trees, no lights, no giftwrap, no Santa pictures, no Christmas specials on TV. Not until all kids are with their parents and everyone is safe and has a place to live and food to eat. Not until we stop punishing children for trying to save their own lives in the midst of horrific violence. Not until we greet migrants with hospitality and care instead of dehumanizing cruelty.
That kinda feels like the Advent message of this daily scripture excerpt, right?