Jesus was born, at least in the eyes of the elders and storytellers Matthew and Luke, into a mystery of divine economy where MORE of God’s reassurance is affirmed where there is LESS. MORE space was offered for the child outside the ecological household next to animals and nature, when LESS space was offered inside a human guest house. MORE favour was shown from God, who was willing to do anything to save the child, when LESS favour was displayed from a king who wanted to kill the child to secure power. MORE hope of return was affirmed for the child to the land of his ancestors (Mtt.2:20), who had LESS choice when, immediately after birth, became an asylum-seeker against his will in a foreign land. MORE recognition was given to a small town, Nazareth, when Joseph upon return from Egypt decided to raise his family there—away from the big town, Judea, flooded with the blood of a cruel genocide of young innocent children. MORE celebration was displayed by strangers such as Magi and shepherds, who had no connection to the child, when LESS was offered by his own people. MORE of God’s purpose was revealed through dreams when there was LESS dreaming from the world. MORE of heavenly hosts descended into Earth when there was LESS ascending from Earth to receive and host the birth of the child. And MORE of God living with us was promised when the empire was LESS with us except the promise of presence to rule us.
Being born into this LESS status, power, and favour, made Jesus MORE receptive in the eyes of God. It means that cultures that lessen did not have the last word. That the Christmas story is a story of hope for those who have LESS or are made LESS by systems of power. A story that subverts and heals our digestive addiction for MORE mainly carved by greediness and the self-indulgent consumerism of our human-centric economies. Christmas is a time of re-tuning the story of salvation to the mystery that our Christian identity is not crafted at the centre within the abodes of the powerful, but rather in the memory of Jesus who, despite having MORE, resolved to dwell in what is LESS for the sake of the LESS privileged of the margins and dirt communities. Thus, a story to rethink life from the perspective that the more we immerse ourselves to see the world from the itulagi, the side of the horizons of those who have LESS, the better the ability to see MORE of the ineffable divine reassurance in the midst of any form of hope-LESS-ness.
May this mystery give you hope during this cyclone and covid19 laden Christmas!
Upolu Luma Vaai
21st December 2020