More than any other holiday, Christmas is surrounded with family warm fuzzies. On the surface it is a month of preparing your house and making it as warm and hospitable as possible. And we brave the strip malls to buy presents as a way of showing love towards our friends and family. Christmas highlights one of the most critical needs humans have, to be known and to be loved.
Yes the birth of Jesus tells us so much about God and his love and his plan for humanity, yes the manner in which he was born shatters all of our preconceptions regarding status and power, and yes we have God exegeted in the incarnation of his Son. But all of these great truths are not found in isolation. They are proved a reality by way of invitation, invitation into the family of God.
While we were sinners, broken, outcasts, it is at this time that Jesus left his rightful place in Heaven and became Emmanuel to reconcile us back to God and change our identity and purpose forever. Once we were not a people, but through Jesus Christ, we are the people of God.
As I reflect upon this reality, I am convinced more and more that this invitation into the family of God, to be given the purpose of the family business, is the thin place our world has to experience the good news of Jesus Christ. People feel more alienated then ever, our students are more isolated then they even know. Even with all their access to social media, they are alone.
An Invitation to Belong:
All humans need connection, need people, need a purpose. As we create these incarnational communities and allow space for students to experience the love of Christ and the joy of partnering with God’s work in the world, we must not short change them by never giving them opportunities to transition from guests in the home of God to be actually adopted by our heavenly Father.
With all the emphasis on belonging, we must not forsake the initiation that is made possible because on Christmas the Word became flesh and the Life appeared. To all those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God! This Christmas, may we live more fully into our adoptive family, and share the love and grace that has been so lavishly poured out on us with others.