December 12 - For unto us a child is born

Reflection by Chelsea Jackson, Drew Theological School alum.

For unto us a child is born;
a child who will carry
the government
on his shoulders, before
he can even walk
on his own.

The failures,
broken promises and
silenced voices of the world
weighing him down, so
he forever walks with a hunch.

And this child. . .
this child,
will turn the government on its head;
dizzying the world with a new kind
of justice.

But we won’t see this table-flipping,
world-turning Christ child.

Instead we’ll envision a crime fighting,
just-war leading, Prince of Peace.
Who wields the sword
instead
of dying by it.

Instead we’ll drape our eyes with red, white and blue tinted glasses;
Manifest destiny lenses perpetually confining
justice to the courtroom;
government to the capital.

But what if they aren’t found there?

What if this child isn’t going to work within our boxes;
our jail cells?
Isn’t going to trade one politician in for another?
replace one law for a stricter one?

What if he is going to tear it all down?
Or at least try?

The Jesus I know,
is more likely to be the little
brown boy;
no home
of his own;

found on the hard wooden benches of the courtroom,
arrested for lighting fires of protest, and
teaching everyone on his block their lives matter;

dangerous ideas for a boy from the ghettos of Nazareth.

Cuffs the color of nails
lining his wrists,
digging
into his skin;

foreshadowing his high profile trial.

His execution sanctioned
by the state;
anointed
by the gavel.

For unto a child is born!
A child who can change everything.

But we tell God we’ve got it covered down here.

We don’t mind walking in the shadow of death if
we have comfy shoes
and can turn a profit.

Darkness
doesn’t concern us,
in fact
we prefer it;
It allows us to see
who is hardworking enough to make
their own light.

We cry for justice until we are the ones on trial.
We hate sin until we’re the sinner.
We love religious vision until it becomes divine revolution.

Yes,
unto us a child is born!
but even the wise men had to make the effort to see him.
And children are born everyday;

carrying similar weights of
the failures,
broken promises and
silenced voices of the past.
Building blocks of their future
whether they know it
or not.

And governments will listen or
they won’t.

Justice will roll or
remain motionless.

It depends on how tightly we
board up our ears
with the wood of the tree;
How much we dam up the
light of God
with our own fears
of true redemption.
— Chelsea Jackson

About Chelsea

Chelsea Jackson DREW

Chelsea Jackson is an ever-evolving poet, theologian and activist.  Born and raised in southeastern VA, Chelsea graduated from Shenandoah University with a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy, and from Drew Theological School with a Masters in Divinity.  She is currently the Assistant Pastor at the United Methodist Church in Madison NJ, where she works to bridge those inside the church with those outside its walls.  Passionate about art and community organizing, in the future Chelsea hopes to work as an asset based community organizer.  She has given several workshops about art, social justice and eco-justice, and recently spoke on “Art as Activism” at the 2016 Wild Goose Festival. Amazed at faith's power to both comfort and challenge, Chelsea continues exploring faith, engaging hard questions and raising awareness for social and environmental justice.  You can check out her website at sea-jackson.com.


About Drew Theological School

Located in Madison, New Jersey, Drew Theological School is known for it's progressive curriculum, world-renowned scholars, and commitment to social justice issues - particularly in the areas of eco-theology, feminism, and prison reform, and urban ministry. 

Drew is recognized as part of Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2016-17. To learn more about Drew, visit their website at www.drew.edu/theological/ or view their Seminaries that Change the World Profile.