It's hard to believe that any preacher would choose to
preach on this week's epistle reading. There are words here rarely spoken in
our sanctuaries, and using this text might get a preacher sent to
denominational reform school.
Some years ago, when I was in my first pastoral appointment, I met an 11-year-old named Victor at youth court. A friend had asked me to serve as translator for Victor's father, who spoke only Spanish, because Victor was about to be tried for shooting a child in the leg with a BB gun. Violence and trouble were part of life in Victor's neighborhood.
When I was a child, my mother and aunt would go Christmas shopping together. At the end of the day, I would beg them to take me to the park near the shopping district. There, nestled in a dark grove of trees, we’d find a life-size nativity, carefully illumined with spotlights from within the stable.