DEVOTIONAL: Everybody. Always. When you come across a traditional nativity scene, what do you see? A mother, father, and baby, some hay and a few animals, probably some shepherds and an angel, definitely a stable and a star, maybe some men bearing gifts. Chances are, we’ve grown accustomed to this traditional depiction of Jesus’ birth. But look again: Do you see the disgraced teenager, pregnant outside of marriage? Do you see the ragtag shepherds, living on the gritty edges of society? Do you see the wealthy astrologers from a completely foreign culture and belief system? When God chose to send Jesus to the earth, he came as a helpless infant, and the main players in the story were the marginalized, the outcast, the Other. The story of the nativity is just one piece of the greater Story of God: this story starts with God bringing light out of darkness and leads to God putting everything right, once and for all, in all creation. The writer of Revelation paints a beautiful picture of how this reality might begin: people of every tribe, color, ethnicity, class, status, and background coming together to worship God—no division, no strife. The nativity is a snapshot of God’s ultimate design of welcome. We get glimpses and tastes of this in our homes, our churches, our communities and schools. Any place we come together in shalom, God’s wholistic peace, we mirror this ultimate reality. The story of God is for Everybody. Always. CONNECTION QUESTIONS:
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
- Where in your life do you experience diversity in community?
- How can you invite and welcome someone new into the circles where you live, work, play, and worship?