A Christmas Story
By David Maldonado, Jr.
A child is born in a new land, born of humble immigrants who seek nothing more than life and hope for tomorrow.
The young couple grabs what they can carry with them and sets out in the dark night. They leave familiar surroundings, as well as their home, friends and family. They expect their first born and wish the child could be born at home surrounded by their community. However, for the sake of the child, the young couple knows they must leave, so they walk out into the cold and dangerous desert night. It is a huge risk for them to leave, but it is also a leap of faith. They hope the land to which they are going will be a life-saving, life-sustaining place.
As they make their way through the darkness, guided only by a sea of brilliant stars, they wonder what their future holds for them and their child. It is their hope for the child that keeps them focused and determined on their trek. They are afraid. They know robbers sometimes attack travelers in the night and in the desert. What if they are caught in the night? Will they be arrested and treated as common criminals? Will they be sent back to their homeland?
Fears have a way of immobilizing some people. But for this young expectant couple, fear drives them even deeper into the night. What they fear the most is life without hope, life without a future for their new family. In their whispers, they encourage each other and pray their child will be born in the new land of hope. They must arrive in their new land before daybreak.
But that is not to be. The child can no longer wait to be born. They are now well into their new land. They know no one here, and their surroundings look strange and foreign. Where can they go for the birth of their child? Who will welcome them and offer hospitality? They knock on the first door they see. The lights are on and the house looks welcoming. They see the curtains move and a face peeking out to see who is knocking on the door. But the door does not open. They hear the voice of a woman inside.
"Who is it?" she asks in a whisper. A male voice from within the house responds in a loud, irritated voice as if wanting to be heard by the travelers standing outside the door.
"Oh, nobody-just some foreigners probably looking for a handout," the man answers. "They should go back to where they came from."
A child is born in a new land, and there is life and hope for a family. Many of us know this as the story of the birth of Jesus. It is also the story of the birth of the child of the immigrant today. The young couple, hearing the voices, keeps going. They are determined to survive. They come to yet another house with its lights still on.
"Maybe they will be more welcoming," cries the young, pregnant woman. This time, the door opens slightly.
"Who are you? What do you want? Where are you from?" the voice calls from within the slightly opened door.
"We just arrived, and our child is ready to be born," responds the young father-to-be.
"We are not from here. We are not asking for charity. All we need is for our child to be born safely. I am willing to work to repay you for your kindness."
"Humph! Some more of them. They just cause problems for the rest of us. I wish they would stop coming. I wish they would just leave. Our whole town is changing because of them, but I could sure use his cheap labor in the morning. They are good workers. Hope nobody is looking," thinks the man from behind the door.
With a suspicious glare, the man yells, "OK, you can stay in the back, but don't make trouble or we will call the police on you and send you back where you came from."
And so the child is born in a new land, a child born of humble immigrants who seek nothing more than life and hope for tomorrow. A child is born in a new land, and there is life and hope for a family. Many of us know this as the story of the birth of Jesus. It is also the story of the birth of the child of the immigrant today.
--David Maldonado, Jr.
el Intérprete (online), noviembre-diciembre, 2010