Mary has an Advent message for CEO’s: “Go away empty”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has a message for a group of CEO’s who have formed a “Leadership Council”. This group of 80 wealthy CEO’s, those whose business practices contributed heavily to creating the deficit, is going around the country arguing that the way to “fix” the problem of the national debt is on the backs of seniors, the poor, and the middle class, and maybe, just maybe, with a little revenue from the rich.

Mary has a message for these 80 CEO’s: “Go away empty.”

In today’s terms, “go away empty” for these CEO’s and their companies would mean no more tax breaks, government contracts, bailouts or other “rescues” at the taxpayers’ expense. You helped make this debt mess, and you should not be allowed to turn around and demand anything from the poor, the elderly and the middle class.

In the Gospel of Luke, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, the future mother of John the Baptist, who greets Mary with these words: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:42).

Mary responds by singing a song rejoicing in “God my Savior” and announcing that God “has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:47, 53).

That’s right. Biblically speaking, announcing the impending birth of Jesus should start with a very explicit message about wealth and poverty.

There’s an Advent message for you.

Remember Advent? Advent is the time in the Christian year when we are supposed to be focused on the expectation of the birth of Jesus.

We in the Christian churches need to take back the message of the coming birth of Jesus.  The time leading up to Christmas is not primarily about fluffy angels, or even worse, to be confused with guys in red suits or shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

The central Christian message about the impending birth of Jesus should be, as it is in the Bible, about how God-with-us means overturning the extremes of wealth and poverty.

The coming of Jesus is the coming of a strong prophetic message: the Kingdom of God is here, and now, in “our midst.” (Luke 21:17b)

About Susan Thistlethwaite

I am President Emerita and Professor Emerita of Chicago Theological Seminary; I write for the public here and in local papers. I am interested in what I call "public theology," or how deeper meaning is made and contested in the public square.
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