by Emily Brewer
In October, I gathered at the border fence in Nogales with a thousand others--Christians, Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, Native Americans, European Americans, Latin Americans, documented and undocumented. On both sides of that rust-colored wall, we sang and prayed and shouted: “Tear it down!” We shouted and sang and protested because we are told time and time again that this wall, these policies of exclusion, this violence that has marked the US southern border will make us safe. It is not true.
We know what is true: that this wall is an “open wound” in the desert, a visible scar that continues to hurt the earth and her people. What is true is that the land and the communities along the border wall, while wounded, continue to resist these policies of exclusion by surviving. What is true is that, were we awaiting the birth of the Christ child in our context today, in 2016, we would be waiting along that wall for a child born to undocumented parents, a child born in the desert to parents who were fleeing violence in their home, a child born into a world still desperate for renewal.
We also know that this is true: climate change forces more and more people to migrate to new lands in search of food and other resources. What is true is that if we do not change our hearts and minds and policies toward climate change and toward immigrants, renewal cannot come and we will miss the birth of the one whom we await, the one who brings renewal.
As we await the Christ child on this holy night, we are not silent. We sing and pray and shout in joyous expectation with the earth and all her creatures of the one who will come--the undocumented, Brown, Jewish baby—
who will bring down the mighty from their seats of power,
who will fill the hungry with good things,
who will tear down all walls of division and hatred,
who will renew the earth and her people from the wounds we have inflicted if we will let him, if we will help him.
O come, Emmanuel.
Emily Brewer is the director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. She is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York (2015) and Maryville College (2009). She lives in Brooklyn, NY but will always consider East Tennessee home.