Christmas, surprisingly enough, is quite political.
In the pagan view of government, the law came from the mouth of the king and the people counted for nothing. They had neither input nor recourse against those who ruled over them.
There were no elections, no lobbying, no opportunity to change the law or those who made it.
But when the Lord Jesus came, He taught that people are called to be sons and daughters of God, and therefore they do count. He opened the way for us all to share the divine nature.
What a reversal! Now, the “divine right of kings” becomes the divine adoption of the people!
And if that is true, then no public official can dominate or own other people; no legislator or governor, Congress or Court, can have a veto power over human rights!
Thanks to Christmas, everyone counts, and therefore everyone has a voice. Power and authority become service; government becomes representative; legislators become ministers of God (Romans 13) and are accountable to him, and issues matter only because people matter more.
This is why we can elect our leaders, and lobby them once they are in office. This is why Christians have a political responsibility.
Jesus warned His disciples that in his Kingdom, authority was not to be exercised the way it was among the pagans. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their importance felt. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant (Matthew 10:25-26).
Our Declaration of Independence states that governments are instituted precisely to secure the rights given to the people by God, and that government has no power except by the consent of the governed.
The first of the rights mentioned is life. We are at a point now where abortion supporters are pushing constitutional amendments to secure a “right” to unfettered abortion. One of the selling points they use is “freedom from government interference.”
This is a supreme irony, because the worst and most intrusive government interference is when the government presumes to authorize the taking of your life, or declare you a non-person, as it so often does to the unborn.
Christianity revolutionizes politics, and is the basis for giving sovereignty to the people, not to tyrants.
Pope John Paul II often repeated this frequent admonition of Scripture: Be not afraid! It doesn’t just mean, “don’t worry, have courage.” It means that we are called to welcome Jesus Christ and not be afraid that he is going to deprive us of what we long for or restrict our freedom or enslave our hopes. No, welcoming the Savior is precisely the fulfillment of our hopes, the foundation of our freedom, and the heart and soul of our politics.
Rev. Frank Pavone is National Director of Priests for Life.
Image from Shutterstock.