I am pleased that the Conservative party has come up with more ideas for tackling homelessness, and understand their media savvy in launching them at Christmas.
However, as I have to remind people at this time of year, the Christian story is not about homelessness as the media implies. The Bible is quite clear. There was a hotel shortage in Bethlehem on that important night, brought about by the government’s insistence that everyone returned to their town or city of origin to register for some great new ID system, to be followed of course by some new tax.
It is typical of evil governments down the years that they think nothing of the convenience of their citizens. Poor Mary had to travel around the time of her confinement, just to satisfy some power mad government that could not be bothered to register her in Nazareth where we assume Joseph had a home, but required her to go somewhere else. I am sure the last thing Joseph wanted with a pregnant Mary and all the extra bills fatherhood would bring was to down his carpenters tools and travel to Bethlehem just to register and pay a tax.
As it turns out this was just the start of the evil of this barbarous regime. Hearing of the birth, their combination of insecurity, malevolence and incompetence made them decide to put all new born boys to the sword, forcing Mary and Joseph to flee. Is it, I wonder, because of the Roman influence that this ancient government escapes with such a mild press, when we should be condemning its brutal actions?
Wouldn’t it be a good celebration of the spirit of Christmas if instead our present government pledged not to carry on with new costly and inconvenient ID schemes, or extra taxes? That would show just how different it was, and show it had understood the true Christmas story of how good triumphed over evil, with the escape of Jesus.