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Every year Time magazine recognizes someone as “Person of the Year”. The recognition isn’t necessarily an honor; it’s given to the person whom Time judges to have been the newsmaker of the year – for good or for bad.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI

THE CHRIST-CHILD OF THE YEAR

Part of the challenge of Christmas is to recognize where Christ is being born in our world today, where two thousand years after the birth of Jesus we can again visit the stable in Bethlehem, see the new-born child, and have our hearts moved by the power of divine innocence and powerlessness.

I suggest we honor refugee children as the “Christ-Child of the Year”. They bring as close to the original crib in Bethlehem as we can get within our world today because for them, as for Jesus two thousand years ago, there is no room at the inn.

The Christ-Child can be seen most clearly today in the countless refugee children who, with their families, are being driven from their homes by violence, war, starvation, ethnic cleansing, poverty, tribalism, racism, and religious persecution.

They, and their families, best fit the picture of Joseph and Mary, searching for a room, outsiders, powerless, uninvited, no home, no one to take them in, on the periphery, strangers, labeled as “aliens”. But they are the present-day Holy Family and their children are the Christ-Child for us and our world.

The face of God at Christmas is seen more in the helplessness of children than in all the earthly and charismatic power in our world. And so today, if we want, like the shepherds and wise men, to find our way to the crib in Bethlehem we need to look at where, in this demented inn, the most helpless of the children dwell.

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