As Christmas Day approaches, many focus on getting the best consumer deals for friends and family. I wonder how many of us spend time thinking about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was a Jewish person of color of Middle Eastern origin. Jesus' parents were homeless the night of his birth because everything else in town was occupied. King Herod sent the Three Kings to find Jesus so that he might worship him. Herod lied. Several days later the Three Kings found Jesus, honored him, but were told not to return to Herod because Herod planned to kill Jesus.
Herod was a huge developer that built many magnificent structures like the Second Temple, Caesarea, a port city, Masada and Herodium. These projects increased jobs in Judea, but it was the working people, not the wealthy, who paid the taxes to build them. These were projects that benefited Herod and his family. Herod and his family lived lavish lifestyles and rewarded loyalty to maintain their wealth and power. There was no conflict of interest between Herod's role as king and his business interests. A king can never have a conflict of interest. When Herod died, he divided his wealth and power between his three sons.
Since Herod was appointed king by the Romans, he felt threatened by Jesus' birth. Mary and Joseph got wind of Herod's plan and escaped to Egypt where they lived for several years. They returned to Nazareth after Herod's death.
What would happen if Jesus returned to America? He would return as a Jewish person of color living in poor communities and helping the "least among us." Since Jesus would be considered an undocumented immigrant, he likely would be rounded up by immigration officials, held in a for-profit detention center, and eventually deported. He likely would be involved in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience against social, economic and environmental injustice. He probably would be pepper-sprayed, beaten, thrown in jail or sued for exercising his First Amendment rights. After all, we can't have any competition or challenge to the wealthy and powerful in this country.
The good news is that we still celebrate the birthday of this Jewish Middle Eastern person of color.
David J. Iacono
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