An Advent Message from Dean Douglas

This message is available in Spanish here

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head

When I was a child Christmas was one of my favorite times of the year, but it was also one of the saddest for me. Each time that we sang “Away in a manger,” I would cry.  I explained to my father, who asked “why the tears,” that “I am sad because baby Jesus didn’t have anywhere to sleep.” My father responded, “what about the manger?”  Indeed, the manger was a sanctuary for the baby Jesus. But of course, Jesus’ story did not end there. For soon after his birth, Herod sent forth a decree to slaughter infant boys forcing Mary and Joseph to flee Bethlehem in search of sanctuary for their son.  

Jesus’ manger birth and flight from Bethlehem speaks to us anew. It calls us to see the baby Jesus in the faces of those who are in search of sanctuary in this time of travel bans, immigrant deportations and DACA threats. Now when I sing “Away in a Manger” I hear a call to provide sanctuary for those who are the children of God so that they may grow into the fullness of their very sacred humanity. The Episcopal Divinity School at Union has joined Union Theological Seminary in answering that manger call by making a public commitment to all those who seek sanctuary in our present day. I invite you to join me in remembering those who are displaced and filled with fear this Christmas.  Let us work together toward the day when the sadness of Christmas is no more and we all can celebrate the joy of Christmas.

Peace and Goodwill to All!

The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas
Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union