As in most of Latin America, in my Cuban family Christmas gifts arrived on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. The elaborate story describes how the three Reyes Magos,who had first brought gifts to the Christ child, continue to cross time and space to bring joy. It was a delicious and beautiful mystery, which made me look for their star in the night sky. Today, I appreciate the depth of the story. Jesus, small and vulnerable, born anew each Christmas night taking on flesh in every child the beloved Magi visited. The gift of their visit is to bring love and inviolable dignity: making every child part of that first Holy Family.
This year, I ache for the whole world to share in this gift of Epiphany: the regalos of dignity and family, of being children of God and siblings of Jesus. From the families in squalid refugee camps on our wounded border or in far-off lands, to the children in detention centers crying themselves to sleep and their deported parents who miss them desperately — it is immigrants and refugees who fill my heart. I want the Magi to come with the abundant bestowal of dignity and the removal of fear. I ask them to bring well-deserved rest to our undocumented students and alumni who wait for one precious immigration document to allow them to contribute, build, flourish, belong.
The tradition has another part to it — our part. During the preparation of Advent, each child is asked to do good deeds. Each loving act becoming a small bundle of straw for the manger. Our good works will keep the Christ child safe and warm. This Christmas may there be many good deeds from each of us to build a new world of welcome. Let us look up together and search for the star.
Cecilia González-Andrieu is professor of theology in the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. She is the author of “Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty” and co-editor of “Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis.” González-Andrieu is a frequent media commentator and a contributor to America magazine.