By: Ewuare X. Osayande
This originally appeared on Ewuare's website.
As many shop for Christmas presents in the malls of America, still many others have taken to the streets all over this nation in protest to the rash of police killings of African Americans under the banner of #BlackLivesMatter. This jarring juxtaposition of realities is best captured by the photograph from Ferguson of St. Louis police officers in riot gear standing below a “Seasons Greetings” banner bedecked with Christmas lights. The seasonal themes of “peace and good will” and “glad tidings to all men” have been rendered meaningless in the face of such fascistic state-sponsored intimidation as Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of their Savior, Jesus the Christ.
But contrary to the sermons that are being preached during this Advent season, the first Christmas was not as “calm and bright” as the Christmas carol suggests. As today, that first Christmas pageant was indeed a pageant of protest. In fact, this present juxtaposition of realities was the same stark contrast faced by the people to whom Christ was born. The Hebrew people lived under fear of death at the hands of a militarized state. The level of repression being visited upon Black America at this very hour in the United States is strikingly similar in spirit and expression to what the people of Galilee felt and knew when Jesus was born.
By: Gregory Williams
In the Church where I was baptized, I was taught that Advent was for those of us who are too depressed to do Christmas. Every year, for these four weeks, we were reminded that one of the spirit’s greatest gifts to a Christian community is that community’s ability to live with weakness, to admit its need for grace, to name the absence of God in our lives in the midst of a culture characterized by triumphalism and willful blindness to pain. One year the pastor demonstrated this quite dramatically in a sermon. “There are many Churches,” he said, “that, in order to accommodate those who mourn the loss of loved ones at Christmas or who cannot be with family for other reasons, hold a “blue Christmas” service.” He then held up his (blue) stole and exclaimed, “we don’t need to do that because we already have a blue Christmas. It’s called Advent!”
While I have since moved away from this Church, I believe that its emphasis on periods of mourning and lamentation has political significance, particularly for those of us who integrate anarchist praxis into our path of discipleship.
One of the major defensive mechanisms of Imperial Religion is its ability to rob us of our tears. We live amidst an interlocking set of globe-spanning political, social and cultural systems founded upon the colonial dispossession of land and displacement of people, particularly low income people and people of color, making room for the capitalist transfiguration of every person place and thing into a commodity to be marketed, used and thrown away. Our life together in creation is also marred by the heteropatriarchal scripting of gender and sexuality that rests on oppressive dualisms of culture and creation, rationality and affect, mind/spirit and body and male and female. This social system is responsible for the deaths of millions, for historic and ongoing genocide and for the near-constant burning of the bodies of children, women and men upon the fiery altars of imperial war.
By: Ric Hudgens
Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her king!
This is the season in which we celebrate the coming of the rebel King of Bethlehem. The one sent in the words of his mother to “bring down rulers from their thrones and to lift up the humble.”
During Advent we read passages from the Hebrew prophets that remind us of the alternative future of peace awaiting the people of this earth. But it is a future we can speak of only in symbols, metaphors, and parables. It is a future too big for our words. It is a future too big for our imaginations. It is a future too big for our faith.
But how will we ever get there? Where is the path away from the graveyards of the past? Where is the path through the maze of the present? Where is the path that will bring us into that clearing where the light of God shines unhindered and we flourish in its radiance fulfilling that ancient word of Irenaeus who said, “the glory of God is humanity – fully alive!”
Our initial response to that question is “We do not know.” We admit that in light of our finitude, our confusion, and perhaps even our shame, we simply to do not know how to get there.
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Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
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