Remembering those who have no voice in a noisy and overly-abundant world–these words again…
He was born to an unwed teenage girl
Born in substandard housing
He was first greeted by some of the most marginalized people in his culture.
Under fear of death by a powerful politician, this boy and his family fled to another country and lived some time in exile.
The man who raised him was not his birth father
He spent his most significant adult years as a wandering teacher without a permanent home.
He was executed by a coalition of religious and secular leaders afraid of his revolutionary ideas.
This one, born homeless, has become the one who offers hope to the world.
As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, it is good to remember Jesus’ earthly beginning, and his self-emptying, servant stance. Jesus reached out to the marginalized throughout his life. Jesus cared for those who were aliens and marginalized following the grand tradition of the people of Israel who once were aliens themselves.
Jesus is Emmanuel: God with us. He is still God with us. He has stepped into our neighborhood and everything changes.
He stepped into the messiness of our lives–so as his followers, we must step into the messiness of our world.
Bono of U2 spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington a few years ago. He called attention to the poor and the vulnerable in our world. In that talk before then President and Mrs. Bush, King Abdullah of Jordan, politicians and religious leaders he said:
“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives…, and God is with us– if we are with them.”
The celebration of Jesus’ birth stirs us to look beyond ourselves and towards others.
Desmond Tutu said: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good
put together that overwhelm the world.”
This season is about the greatest event in history–God in Jesus is working to set the world right. We are called to enter into that work by the power of the Spirit.
In little ways–in little bits of good, we can practice the ways of Jesus. These little bits can overwhelm the world. The hopes and fears of all the years, in all of our lives are met in Jesus.