Undoing Race: Keeping Race Away From the Manger

Like most Americans, there are certain things that I must experience during the Christmas season. A part from the meals and opportunities for fellowship with family and friends, there are songs that I must hear in order for it to feel like Christmas. Motown’s Christmas collection is on repeat with The Temptations singing “Silent Night” and I have to watch Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” You can say what you will about me but your opinions will not deter me from watching the Whos of Whoville. This is how Christmas was shared with me.

As I’ve grown older, my thoughts have shifted to how I would celebrate Christmas with my own children. Would I put up a Christmas tree and string decorative lights around the house and garage? Would I place gifts under the tree and tell them that Santa Claus flew on a sleigh, climbed down our chimney and brought them in response to letters sent to him at the North Pole? How would I couple this with the birth narrative of Jesus Christ and convince them that “Jesus is the reason for the season”? Would I place reindeer around the manger?

And what color would little baby Jesus, his parents and the wise men be? Yes, our nativity scenes divide us and share another Christmas story altogether. We don’t want to celebrate the birth of a Savior who does not look like us. We must be able to identify with Him in order to appreciate His birth, life and death– the greatest presents we could ever receive. And while I’m sure that I will not be giving credit to Santa for my hard work or share stories without emphasizing that they are in fact stories, I sincerely hope that before my children are born, I will have am ample explanation for why I have taken race out of the manger.

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