December 25th, 2020

Taken during a long walk last month.

In one of the biblical birth stories of Jesus, baby Christ is born amidst genocide. The king of that region (Herod the Great of modern-day Palestine) orders all male infants to be killed upon hearing about the birth of Jesus, whom he hears is believed by some to be a new “king.” (This is why Mary and Joseph flee their city with the newborn and become refugees.) While Herod’s infanticide may be legend, I was reminded of it this past week and was struck, as this illustrator so aptly put it, at how Jesus—divinity in the body of a human—was truly “born into the shit.” God, “Emmanuel,” came to people through a vagina, into blood, fluids, genocide.

Merry Christmas. Or, perhaps more accurately in other words, I acknowledge the shit and death around you and me, in us, out of us, between us, and yet a hope, some “good,” “life,” someone—something rare, even divine—with us. I’ve never been a festive person (I don’t think I’ve ever decorated a Christmas tree, and my family was never into the gifts thing). But this year, without any glitzy lights and gatherings, today’s date ironically feels right: a curious reminder of something so very far beyond me, something incomprehensible and great, potentially far-fetched; and yet, all of those but also very close, with me, apparently, here, in my depressive episodes, pains in my head and jaws, my shitty behavior, anger, a freaky year, a freaky world, with me, you and us.

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