v. 10-11a Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join to the Lord on that day; and I will dwell in your midst.
Upon the return from exile, as a part of the rebuilding of their society, the Jews appear to have had a lively debate about their relationship to the nations around them. Zechariah and (Second) Isaiah spoke passionately about "the nations" being brought to God. Their vision was of a universalized Judaism. Haggai, Ezra, and Nehemiah argued for strict barriers to re-establish Israel's unique relation with God. The latter won the day. The sentiment of Zechariah and Isaiah would have to wait for Jesus and his followers to be articulated again and enacted.
Open or shut? Every society must wrestle with the question, and every individual as well. Will I live my life as closed off from others who are different from me as possible, or will I live an open life, willingly, and even proactively, engaging those who are different from me?
The Church has one of its bottom lines here. We must do the latter. Our sacramental practices demand it. "Baptism catches us up into solidarities not of our own choosing," says Archbishop Rowan Williams. And the Eucharist draws us around a Table as equals with all sorts and conditions of people.
Of course, the Church has not always acted this way. The Church has acted as a closed society. In doing so, however, it was not following its Lord.
Who do you need to open yourself to in order to have a more meaningful Christmas?