Post submitted by Rosa Manriquez - HRC’s A la Familia Facilitator
This season, we celebrate with great joy the stories of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.
To celebrate these shared traditions, HRC’s Religion and Faith Program asked esteemed faith leaders to contribute holiday stories as a gift of reflection and inspiration to the LGBTQ faith community and our allies.
Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate Epiphany -- also known as the Magi’s Visit (The Three Kings) and the 12th day of Christmas -- on January 6. The day marks the baptism of Jesus, as well as the visit from the Three Kings.
It is a time when Christians are reminded recommit to emulating the humble carpenter who opened his arms to the marginalized and oppressed, who challenged the oligarchy of his time and called for people of faith to live up to scripture and stop using God and his temples as bastions of corruption and hatred.
The lessons of Epiphany couldn’t be more relevant than in today’s turbulent political times, when LGBTQ people, women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities and asylum seekers are all under assault.
Last month, I, along with millions of Latinx Catholics, marked the beginning of the Christmas season by celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of La Guadalupe, Christ’s mother and patron saint of the Americas. She appeared before an indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, who alone could see her face. Though his bishop was initially skeptical of Juan Diego’s experience, he ultimately knelt humbly before him, affirming the miracle of the visitation.
This speaks to the importance of the Magi (Three Kings) in kneeling before the Christ child as witness this miracle of God’s love of humanity, and how all of our Christian brothers and sisters also must kneel to bear witness of God’s miracle of love that extends to LGBTQ people, including children.
The journey to change peoples’ hearts and minds on LGBTQ equality is not easy. But with prayers, Juan Diego-like persistence, and hard work, we will see a new day.
These stories of faith and love provide an opportunity to understand the emergence of the Divine Essence within us. It is messy, painful and beautiful all at the same time. We know that regardless of the oppressions we suffer, God gives humanity a second chance to restore our love for one another.
I hope and pray that as our political and religious leaders mark Epiphany, God’s revelation two millenniums ago will inspire them to open their hearts and minds and extend their love to all God’s children -- regardless of gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
HRC’s Religion & Faith Program has developed resources to help us fulfill our mission of a welcoming theology where we are accepted for who we are, whom we love and what we believe. For more information please visit: www.hrc.org/religion