“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb.”
I am always amazed by how easy it is for the youngest in our world to recognize the most basic concepts of our faith in ways that seem so difficult for adults.
Over the summer, in the wake of a number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace raids that took place in Northeast Ohio, my family participated in a prayer vigil at the local ICE facility, a nondescript building for processing and short-term detention. At the vigil, stories of families separated by the raids were shared—moms and dads no longer at home to care for young children and provide for their families. My own children, all boys between the ages of six and eight listened intently to these stories and joined in prayers for the families and for a change of heart by government officials.
A few weeks later, the topic of the vigil came up at our family dinner table. There were lots of questions about why families would be separated, why our government would want to do that, etc. and then a creative idea was posed by one of our twins:
“If families are being separated at ICE, why don’t we just build a building next door and name it ‘NICE’ — they can do ‘nice’ things for people instead of taking kids away from their moms and dads.”
On this final Sunday of Advent, we learned that Elizabeth’s baby leaped when Mary entered the room and spoke. Even in the womb, Elizabeth’s child recognized the presence of God incarnate in Mary and responded with a leap.
What will your “leap” be this Christmas?
How can the witness of Elizabeth’s baby or a six-year-old’s reflections after praying at an ICE detention center inspire us to reflect on our own response to the presence of the baby Jesus?
Kids seem to recognize the most basic concepts of our faith — this Christmas let’s show them that adults can too.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.