But the point is not about me, or Fr. Martin. The fixed point of Christmas, as the Holy Father reminds us, is not partisan politics, but Jesus. The Christmas Octave is not made to fit us. We are made to be fitted to it. And so the Church bids us to attend to its every facet. On different days we follow the story of Jesus through the lectionary, and we focus on different aspects of the Gospel, and are reminded with daily feasts what it means to really conform ourselves to this Newborn King.
We shouldn't let politics divide Christians, nor should we let non-Christians co-opt Christmas. We should fight against the political instrumentalization of the faith. Whether priests or laymen, whether believers or unbelievers, we need to guard against trying to fit the Gospels to us. Rather we must constantly do the exegetical labor of making sure that we are conforming ourselves to the letter and spirit of the Gospel, that we are speaking the truth in charity, and making the distinctions which guard us against error. Our political tribalism disorders us. It makes us murderous towards our brothers and sisters, and turns us into Herod.
The Christmas Octave bids us to live another story. Not a story of tribalism, but a real life lived bearing true witness, online and off, to the Word made flesh. Each of us were fugitives from God, but God rushed to meet us in Mary's womb, to reveal to the Magi that his glory is not confined by small spaces, to show wicked kings that their rule has limits, and that justice will return.
May we be just to every person, each of us made in God's image, and commend what is just for all, the unborn, as well as the persecuted refugee. We will all do better by our tribes if we all first bow down together to adore Christ, before trying to fit him to meet our predictable political postures.
Chad C. Pecknold, Ph.D is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at The Catholic University of America. His opinions do not represent the opinions of Catholic News Agency.