Christmas: Shattering the Yoke of Injustice
By Rev. Myra Brown
“For the yoke that burdened them, the weight on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors you have shattered it, as you did at the defeat of Midian.” (Isaiah 9:4)
“Light dawns for the just; and joy for the upright in heart.” (Psalm 1:11)
“Yet any who did accept the Word, who believed in that Name, were empowered to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
We have spent our time preparing for the Savior’s birth and it has finally arrived. Isaiah 9:1-6 reminds us that this Christ child has come to shatter the rod of oppression that weighs on the shoulders of the people of God, and burden them by the yoke. Those in our human family who suffer in our world under the yoke of racism, sexism, homophobias, Xenophobia, exclusion, marginalization and invisibility become known to God in the battle we fight to liberate them with the Christ child.
Isaiah goes on to say in 52:7, “How welcome upon the mountains are the feet of one who brings good news, who announces peace, and brings news of happy things and proclaims deliverance.” So when we hear of walls being built, we take them down and build bridges. When world leaders want to close our borders, we shout loud to keep them open for the immigrant, the destitute, the foreigner and the poor. It is not just God that liberates but we, as co-laborers in that work, are called to participate as well in defeating oppression so that, as Psalm 1:11 declares, “Light dawns for the just; and joy for the upright in heart.” So, when we do justice in the world we are working with God to bring the dawning of light and joy of heart to those who have struggled in darkness for far too long in isolation. This joy fills our heart when we do the right thing by the poor, oppressed and vulnerable of our world.
This Christ child who John declares as the Word becoming flesh will lead us down the road less traveled as we slowly follow with anticipation. On this road our deepest courage will be required as we are urged to find our voice to speak life in the midst of silence. As the cosmic forces of sin and death surround us, we arm ourselves with the promise of light that has come into the world to transform the darkness. If you find yourself worrying about who will not accept the Word that we are given to carry this Christmas, don’t! Speak and act boldly as John focuses us on the many who will accept the gift of justice that you bring. Anticipate it! The Word incarnate in the form of baby Jesus has come into the world filling it with humility, wisdom, love and peace for a broken humanity. John tells us that those who are ready to accept are empowered to become children of God. Imagine this baby Jesus uniting us as the family we were intended to be. How exciting!
Action: As you open your gifts and celebrate at the table with a meal, decide on three actions you can do to lift the burden of others this season that will shatter their oppression experience. Maybe it’s taking a homeless person out to lunch, attending a Black Lives Matter rally to stand in solidarity or welcoming immigrants and strangers. Whatever you choose, find your voice in this work with the Christ child and have a Merry Christmas!
Rev. Myra Brown is a member of CTA’s Anti-Racism Team and an ordained priest who serves on the pastoral committee of Spiritus Christi in Rochester, New York.
Read the rest of CTA’s Awaiting the Birth of Justice Advent reflections.