It’s Christmas Eve and I’m thinking about the way that Jesus came to Earth. It could have been with applause, judgement or as a great commander of an army of angels.
He didn’t come with judgement, but with inclusion.
He included an elderly couple beyond hope of their dreams coming true, “You shall call his name John…”
He included a young woman, “How can this be?” she asks…risking everything by allowing herself to become pregnant as a virgin before marriage. (Who would believe her story?)
He included a man considering divorce…and trusted him as a father figure.
He included shepherds…tradesmen, working class people…
He included foreigners…wise men from afar who accidentally alerted the authorities to his birth…
He included a prophetic old man, faithfully waiting, whose promises looked to never come true…
And an old woman who had been widdowed years ago, but still worshipped and rejoiced…
And today he includes the poor, the crippled, the LGBT community, the young and old, the alien, the stranger.
We are all part of his big story. God gave an invitation to each of those he used in the nativity story (an angel, a star, a dream…etc) and they all said, “Yes,” and, “Use me.” He took their lives where they were and made so much more of them. He brought those who were on the outside, into the inside.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come,” Jesus said later in life, “I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets (in the Old Testament). No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” A purpose of bring us, outsiders, into the family of God.
Paul puts it more poetically than I could hope to, in Ephesians, “…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
Live the story out today.
Say yes and allow yourself to be included in God’s story, take some risks, learn to be loved and to love more.
Be more Nativity.