Project “They have evicted Jesus”
This project first began 1997. It has a far-reaching goal that exceeds the literal meaning of its title, “They have evicted Jesus.” The purpose is to encourage people not to be conditioned by the consumeristic society that surround us and to bring true values back to the center of their attention. The idea originated from a reflection by Chiara Lubich, who was in Switzerland a few weeks before Christmas.
As she walked down the streets of a big city, so full of lights and beautiful decorations, but also so much wealth, she was struck by the absence of any reference to the real meaning of Christmas.
“In my heart I experience disbelief, almost rebellion. This wealthy world has taken over Christmas and everything that goes with it, and has moved Jesus out. It focuses on Christmas for the best sales of the year. But they don’t remember Jesus! ‘He came among his own yet his own people did not receive him.’ ‘There was no room for him in the inn.’ Not even at Christmas! ” (C.Lubich, in L.Velardi, “They evicted Jesus,” Citta’ Nuova, Rome, 2005, p .5)
In the years since 1997, thousands of Gen4 throughout the world have accepted Chiara’s invitation to bring Jesus back to the center of Christmas.
Together with their parents, friends and other members of the Movement, they go to busy shopping districts and offer people plaster ffigurines of Baby Jesus or nativity scenes that they make themselves. They stand along the streets, in city squares, in market places, in front of local institutions, at schools tand with each figurine, they give a copy of the meditation by Chiara Lubich entitled “They have evicted Jesus.”
Welcome and gift
“Not evicting Jesus“ also means “welcoming him”, especially in those who are poor and in need of help. Therefore, this project has the added dimension of giving a “gift”, of being aware of the needs of other people. And so every year the Gen4 use this project to raise money to help children in some part of the world, who, like Baby Jesus, lack the basic necessities of life. People who accept the gift of a Baby Jesus figurine, offered by the Gen4, often spontaneously donate money for children in need.
Over the years, the values promoted by this “Baby Jesus project” – such as welcoming other people, bringing joy to everyone and being a gift to others – have been expressed in other ways. In particular, the Gen4 try to live the “Golden Rule” and share their toys with children who don’t have any or visit a home for the elderly to bring them joy, or give a smile or nice drawings to people who are lonely …