In a back alley, to a poor unwed
Jewish girl, came the Incarnate One—the fulfilment
of humanity. This didn’t happen in a prestigious
palace or an ostentatious country club.
Are we surprised?
God always chooses to the poor. God sides with the oppressed. Why?
Because God’s involvement with humanity is about liberation.
Incarnation is liberation. Not restoration. Or even reformation.
Faced with tyranny with the empire’s knee on the necks of the
oppressed, God hears their cries and responds. Intervenes. Enters
history to move a powerless people to a place of promise.
Liberation. The Incarnation calls you and me—calls out to us—to
suffer with God against evil in our present age.
We are midwives to another world. Co-creators with the Creator who
In the face of injustice, just as God did not sit aloof up there, so
we must not be aloof down here. The story of the Divine goes
Creation, Liberation, then Incarnation.
Creation. Liberation. Incarnation.
Incarnation does not mean simply that God became Jesus; God said,
“Yes,” to the material universe. The Incarnation is the Divine’s
“Yes,” here and now.
The Incarnation is political, because it is historical. In the
Incarnation comes a renewed way of ordering ourselves, which is what
politics means. The Divine in Christ didn’t come with pomp and
circumstance but instead came quietly and humbly to an oppressed
people. In Christ, we see Herod, and Rome, and all empires since
then — who have made promises to make the world great again —tremble
in fear, because the reign of God is one that rules with love, mercy
and moves us towards justice and peace. The Incarnation declares God
is Lord, not Caesar or any president.
The Incarnate One’s agenda was countercultural; it went against
status quo. From the beginning of his campaign the Incarnate One
said, “I’ve come to proclaim good news to the poor…proclaim release
to the captives…recovery of the sight of the blind…to let the
oppressed go free.” That’s more than a yard sign. It is a statement
about the politics of God in Christ, the Incarnate One.
Status quo and niceness aren’t good news. The declaration of the
Incarnation is good news, for it means liberation from the suffering
of this world. It means salvation here and now. Salvation is
liberation. Until all are free—truly free—then salvation has not yet
come. The Incarnate One told his disciples (and tells us) to “pay
attention—now. Stay awake—now. Keep alert—now.” Salvation is here,
now. If our work in salvation is not tied up with the liberation of
the poor, oppressed, and imprisoned—then it’s no salvation at all.
The Divine didn’t come to the powerful, but to the lowly. The Divine
is found in the least of these. The Incarnation points towards God’s
liberation of a people. It focuses our attention on what God has
done, is doing, and will do to defeat the principalities and powers
Incarnation. Liberation. Salvation.
The Incarnation proves the Divine
isn’t a spectator to the suffering of humanity. The
Divine’s self-disclosure in the Christ is to
liberate the oppressed from social and political
bondage. Just as the Divine did with the exodus.
Just as the Divine is doing now… if only we would
have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Christmas demands we prepare for the arrival of the
Divine. Our preparation must lead us to struggle for
the liberation of the little ones. To welcome the
Christ child is to welcome the call to struggle for
justice — social and political, both of which are
spiritual — a part of that moral arc that bends
towards fairness, inclusivity, equity.
According to the New Testament, God became human in
Jesus Christ, and defeated decisively the powers of
sin, death, and Satan, thereby bestowing upon us the
freedom to struggle against suffering which destroys
humanity. God chose the poor and the oppressed by
being born into a poor Jewish family. God is not
merely sympathetic with social distress of the poor
but became totally identified with them in their
agony and pain. The heartbreak of the oppressed is
God’s lament, for God takes on their suffering as
God’s own, thereby freeing them from its ultimate
control of their lives.
In choosing the oppressed, the Divine identifies
with them. As the infant Christ grows into the
prophet who spoke truth to political power, we see
the call of the Church — to incarnate the love of
Christ in our struggle to liberate the suffering
from their pain.
The manger affirms the poor, and the cross liberates
them to fight against suffering while not being
determined by it.