Broken people round a manger . . !


TOWARDS Christmas, in all shopping centres, malls, housing societies, church compounds and homes, little mangers are made and plastic or wooden figures of Joseph, Mary and the little Jesus are installed. Since it’s a manger, also seen are cows, goats and even a horse or two.

It was towards midnight that I was sure I heard a sound in the crib and manger that was installed near my Christmas tree. Without switching on the lights, I crept towards where the sound had come and found to my surprise that the manger had no animals, no shepherds or wise men.

There was only the baby Jesus and round him were an odd set of people. “Who’re you?” I asked a man, who didn’t meet my eye. “I’m blind!” he said. “And I’m lame!” said the next fellow. I looked at a woman who seemed crying as she looked at the little baby in the cradle. “I’ve been raped!” cried the woman, “And can find no justice!”

“And you?” I asked. “I’m gay!” said the man as he looked at me with sad eyes. “Why have you come here?” I asked. “You guys don’t fit into the scene.” “He came for me!” said the blind man and the lame person and gay pointing to the baby in the manger. “He came for me too!” said the rape victim.

I watched astonished as the babe in the manger grew, and became a thirty odd year Jesus sitting on the edge of the crib, “Lord,” they cried, “we are not welcomed by the world, especially not by the church you established. They look on us as filthy and broken people, who have no place inside their clean, decent sanctuary!”

I saw the Lord looking at me, “Is that true Bob?” I looked away, “They’re welcome if they would only get a wash and a change of clothes!” I ventured. “Yes!” sighed the Lord, “I knew you’d say that. All those I met, I met outside the synagogues. All those hearts I healed, where at dusty wells, crowded market places, pot holed roads and unsophisticated tree tops!”

I watched astonished as the lame, the blind, the rape victim and the gay sat near my Lord, “Lord,” I said, “He’s gay!” And I watched as my Lord stretched his hand and held the man’s hand. There was peace in the man’s eyes, and also in the eyes of the woman and the blind and the lame. “I came for such as these!” sighed my Lord, “Broken people, pushed out by you and others..!”


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