Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head,
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
The words to the popular Christmas song give us comfort as we anticipate the birth of the Christ Child once again this year.
But these words probably no more accurately reflect the political and military upheaval that greeted Jesus as a newborn baby, than they describe the world in which we live today.
Zimbabwe, Iraq, Haiti, DR Congo, Puerto Rico, Myanmar (Burma), Palestine and Israel and many other places are faced with overwhelming conflicts and disasters. And the challenges we face as Christians at home threaten our ability to respond as peacemakers in a broken world.
Better, perhaps, to remember the words of Mary from Luke 1:46–55, when Elizabeth called her blessed:
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
As it was in the day when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lifting up the lowly, filling the hungry with good things, is our work today with partners at home and around the world. With your help, MCC is responding with ministries of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.
We are children of God, blessed to respond to God’s call on our lives, hearing the baby in Bethlehem. Responding to God’s call for shelter in Bangladesh, justice in Palestine and Israel, healing in DR Congo, peace in Syria. A secure and hopeful future for all.
This Christmas season, we invite you to give gifts that can make a difference in peoples’ lives all over the world through MCC Christmas giving. And your holiday gifts can contribute to dignified livelihoods for 20,000 global artisans when you shop at Ten Thousand Villages.
Your contributions allow us to be agents of the bold mission that Jesus, Prince of Peace, proclaims later in his ministry:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27)
We are deeply grateful for your generous response to need in the world when you share through MCC.
May Mary’s Song and the ministry of Jesus the Babe of Bethlehem inspire your celebrations of Christmas this year.
Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director, MCC Canada
J Ron Byler, Executive Director, MCC U.S.