Merry Christmas! Although Christmas Day is behind us, we are still in the Christmas season and it sure is looking frosty out there! I hope you are all keeping safe and warm and healthy, because these times here in the Lower Mainland seem to be pretty crazy. I was at the church really early this morning for another engagement (it was online from Ontario so the time difference had me come here early), and our porch guest who sleeps on the church property from time to time was here… sleeping. I tried to be as quiet as possible as to not wake him, but also relieved to hear him groaning in his sleep which indicated to me that he was still alive. It’s so cold out there that I wonder if he even got any sleep.
After my appointment, it was still early in the morning and still dark out so I quietly went outside to give him a thermos of hot water and an electric heater. I really wanted to invite him in to warm up… but I was scared.
I was afraid of him making a mess of the place. I was afraid that he’d get stains on our brand new carpet and chairs. I was afraid that once he’s in here, I wouldn’t be able to get him to leave.
So I didn’t invite him in. I gave in to fear and decided that the best place for him was outside… in the bitter cold. It’s the choice that I made and as I reflect on it, I am almost certain that it was the wrong one.
He is human. He has life within him. He is a child of God.
This gospel lesson, although we get it basically every Christmas and shortly after Christmas, was sobering for me today. I see how it is saying that Jesus is in the world and we don’t recognise him. Jesus in the world, Jesus in our midst, Jesus residing in each one of us. But we don’t always treat each other like Jesus. When we see or hear about someone we don’t agree with, we scoff and puff out our chests like we’re so much better. When we encounter someone we just don’t like, we might ignore them and write them off as an intentionally bad person. When we meet someone who is less fortunate than us, we often write them off as something that isn’t our problem.
The passage ends with “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (verse 16) All of us receive God’s grace. All of us have the Spirit within us. All of us are loved. And that portion continues with “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made [God] known” (verse 18).
And this made me think that no one has seen God but God is made known through Jesus. Similarly, none of us have actually seen Jesus in the flesh, but he is made known… through us.
Now that is a really sobering thought.
How have we represented Jesus in the world in our lives? How have we portrayed Jesus in our faith? How have we displayed the love of Jesus today?
May we all be inspired by the unending and steadfast love and grace of God, that we might be able to faithfully reflect that out into a hurting and needy world.
May your week be full of blessing and peace. Thanks be to God.