It is important for well to do Americans who read scripture to realize that, in the Christmas story, we are not so much like the poor immigrant couple Joseph and Mary as we are like the Romans. Our children are not born in barns. Those Middle Eastern people who look like the figures in our nativity scenes now cower under our occupying armies and drones.

It is also important, when we read the story of the Exodus, to realize we are not so much like Moses and the Israelites as we are like Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We are the ones who hide behind the pride of empire to justify our works of oppression. The enslaved people in the story are now to be found working in our sweatshops and rotting in our prisons. So the message we must hear when we read scripture is not that we are the chosen ones. The message we must hear is “let my people go!”