Celebrating the challenge of Christmas!

The domination, darkness, discrimination and diabolical dangers at the time of Jesus’ birth exist and are deeply entrenched today in our very own country, Bolehland, reflects Martin Jalleh.

The forces of domination at Jesus' birth can still be found in our world today: Poster image of The Nativity Story movie

Christmas is here. For many of us who are Christians, we have allowed rampant commercialisation and the “Walt Disneyfication” of Christmas to reduce our Christian spirituality to mere sentimentality.

By all means, let us enjoy the carols, cakes, cool cards and cozy nativity scenes, but let us also put Christ back into Christmas and remind ourselves that Christ did not enter a world of comfortable spiritual sentiment.

Whilst commenting on what King Herod represents in the Christmas story a Bible scholar describes the real world in which Jesus Christ entered into and why He did: “Herod represents the dark side of the gospel. He recognises something about Jesus that in our sentiment we fail to see: that the birth of this child is a threat to his kingdom, a threat to that kind of domination and rule. Jesus challenges the very power structures of this evil age.”


“Jesus enters a world of real pain, of serious dysfunction, a world of brokenness and political oppression. Jesus was born an outcast, a homeless person, a refugee, and finally he becomes a victim to the powers that be. Jesus is the perfect savior for outcasts, refugees, and nobodies. ”

‎This point is equally well put by renowned Catholic priest Rev Fr Richard Rohr: “What we call the Incarnation, God becoming a human being, becoming one of us, strikes directly at the heart of evil and corruption in the world.

“God becoming human looks evil in the eye and takes it on without flinching. As Bruce Cockburn sang it so brilliantly, it is God ‘kicking the darkness till it bleeds daylight’.”

The domination, darkness, discrimination and diabolical dangers which both authors speak of, exist and are deeply entrenched in our very own country, Bolehland, today. Surely, such suffering and injustice are too great now to settle for any infantile gospel or any infantile Jesus.

Renowned Bible scholar William Barclay describes the lullaby which Mary the mother of Jesus sang her baby in utero (the Magnificat) as “revolutionary”. He says the song highlights four revolutions that God inaugurated at Christ’s birth – a moral, social, economic and spiritual revolution.

We become partakers of the revolution when we allow God to work a “reversal” in our lives. Reversal is a theme common to the biblical stories. Mary’s Magnificat speaks of reversal. God puts down the mighty and exalts those of low degree. God fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty. God is with the poor and oppressed not with the mighty and powerful of the world. God has done great things for a lowly handmaiden.

During Christmas, Christians are confronted with a choice between comfortable Christianity of Christmas pie, pudding and the perfect paraphernalia or the courage to change personally and allow God to “revolutionise” our priorities, values, thinking and our very being to bring about real, relevant and radical change in our beloved country.

A Very Holy and Blessed Christmas to all Christians who are subscribers and readers of Aliran!

Martin Jalleh
Christmas Day, 2010

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