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Topics: Spirituality | Human Rights

Christmas, reimagined: crossing the U.S.-Mexico border

When Herod becomes president, a couple fleeing violence finds uncertainty in their quest for a better life

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 And it came to pass that Herod was elected president, and a wave of fear and hate spread across the United States of America. President Herod declared that anyone who came to the country looking for a better life would be turned away. 

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At that same time there lived a young couple, María and José, just across the border in Mexico. Having recently learned that María was pregnant, the couple dreamed of a better life for their growing family, a new life away from the violence they experienced in their community.

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Urged by her cousin Isabel to make the journey to the United States, María and José left their parents, friends and the only home they knew, and began a dangerous trip across the desert. Isabel, who was too far along in her pregnancy, helped María dream of the future her child may have farther north.

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Crossing the border one cold night in December, María went into labour. First, the tired couple approached a church, but all the doors were locked. They then saw a hospital in the distance, but were unsure if it was a safe place to seek help. Finally, they came across a homeless shelter, but it was already full of people looking for a safe place to sleep, and there was no room for them. 

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With no place to rest, the couple found a quiet alley under a bright neon sign. There, María gave birth to her firstborn son and named him Jesús. Wrapping him in newspapers to keep him warm, the couple rested.

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There were, in that same alley, other people without shelter seeking warmth by a fire. One of them was a teenager named Ángel who saw the young couple and promised to find help.

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“Help. Don’t be afraid. But please, come quick,” Ángel shouted as he ran through the streets. “There is a couple with a newborn baby who need our help. Follow the light of the large neon sign in the distance. There you will find them.”

The chorus gathered by Ángel brought the young couple heat from a nearby fire.

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More on Broadview: A trip to the holy land taught us to bear witness to injustice

In that same city were three social workers who had just returned from leaving water in the desert for people making the same crossing, something they knew saved lives but was also illegal. Hearing the cries of the group, they learned that a baby had been born. 

“Where is this child we have heard about so that we may help him?” the social workers asked.

“They are just under the light of that large neon sign,” Ángel responded.

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Following the light until it stopped over the place where the child lay, the social workers were overwhelmed with joy. Kneeling beside the couple, the three offered the family water, blankets and food. 

María uttered, “Your precious gifts tonight are more helpful than gold. Thank you.”

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“We know these two doctors, Anna and Simeon, who can help you,” one of the social workers said. “You can trust them.”

Knowing that they were breaking the law, the social workers feared what would happen to the family if they were found.

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While the family recovered from their journey with Anna and Simeon’s help, President Herod announced a policy that took children away from parents like José and María, parents who came to the United States looking for a better life.

As the news of this new law reached the young couple, neither of them knew what to do to keep their family safe. Returning home was not an option, but staying where they were was not safe either.

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That night José dreamed that his newborn son Jesús was ripped from his arms and that he never saw him again. He quickly woke up María and Jesús, and they again walked into the night, unsure of where they were going or what their future held. 

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Little did they know, but their newborn son would grow up to change the world, humbling the powerful and protecting the vulnerable. For under a bright neon light, surrounded by loving parents and supportive community, a child was born.

 

Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.

Jack Patrick Lewis earned his Masters of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He currently serves as a state representative in the Massachusetts Legislature.

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  • says:

    This was a horrible way to express your political views, whether people agree or not.

  • says:

    You must be a social worker? As they are the heroes in your political satire where everyone else is the villain. Or are you just virtue signalling the rest of us?

  • says:

    Has President Herod been sent his copy of Broadview?

    Story is poignant, moving, and sad, highlighting as it does, man's inhumanity to man. At the same time, it provides hope in the kindness and compassion of strangers. We humans are a very contradictory animal.

    Broadview is.an.excellent publication. May it ever continue.
    Happy.New.Year.