“The Word became flesh and blood , and moved into the neighborhood.”  -John 1:14, the Message

At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Jesus moved into our neighborhood on a quiet night, in a humble and unassuming way. He stepped from the glory of heaven and down into the dirt and sorrow of life on earth.

Our neighborhood is not always a pleasant place to be. There is grief here, and people get sick. Miscarriages happen, and marriages fall apart. Friendships end and tragedies take place and we are disappointed.

But Jesus wanted to live here anyway because we were here…humans. He wanted to come to where we are, to show us love and glory and the only way to the Father. And that’s exactly what he did in the most unexpected way, in the least likely place.

He showed us that the best way to really and truly love is to move alongside of someone. To walk through the ups and downs, to experience the community grief and celebrate the neighborhood joys. He did all of that at weddings and funerals, birthdays and holidays. He was there for it all.

But he wasn’t just there, he was the one who invited everyone else to be there too.

He was always looking to the outside, to the one everyone thought was different, the one always left behind. Maybe they were from the wrong family, had the wrong ethnicity, the wrong career, or even the wrong gender. Whatever was wrong about them pushed them to the margins. No one actually wanted them to be a part of what was happening in the neighborhood. Well, no one except Jesus.

He invited them in to sit and talk, to change, to grow, to know God, and to have a new life.

Maybe it’s time we look around and try to do a little bit more of this. What if I noticed everyone who was “wrong:? Who was on the margins? Who was hoping for a way back to God? Jesus spent time around those corners, talked to the ones that others passed by. He noticed. He cared. He invited.

As God’s people, it’s time we move into some new neighborhoods. It’s time to take a step down from where we are, do something unexpected, invite someone in, follow the way of Jesus.

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