Tuesday, December 23, 2008

“I am Among You…”

As a child on the island of St. Lucia, I can remember the preparations that were made as the day approached for Britain’s royal family’s visit. The extravagant decorations, garlands and banners were unlike I have ever seen. On the route that would be taken, every detail that would communicate the privilege and honor of having their presence were meticulously attended to. The steel pans assembled and rehearsed, traditional and national dances were coupled by the most festive costumes; our Sunday best or formal wear were selected or bought; everyone would be splendidly attired…oh, what a day it would be for all!

As a centerpiece in many homes, stands the china cabinet. Always a fascinating place, for there one can see the finest in the trade, ornate and handmade are some pieces. That cabinet awaited some dignitary and guests that would not make the round a second time to our home. Grand were the days when we anticipated using those dishes and the silverware that went with them. The care and presentation were done just above a whisper and the ping of touching plates and glasses seemed to bring us music from another world.

In another time and at another place, a man was found beaten and robbed; another homeless; still another in prison; one lay sick and bedridden; one hungry and naked; the woman at the well, had five husbands and the man she presently lived with was not her husband; another would have been stoned for her infidelity. A young bride at the end of her pregnancy, having made the long journey to her native town needed a room. Behind each situation lies a story, some failure, maybe even a crime but each one had a dire need, each conjured lingering suspicion. To what high society gathering would this brood be invited? (I Cor. 1:23-31)

With this backdrop, camouflaged in humility, as an ordinary man, the Son of God, King of Kings, the Messiah would make His entrance. Nothing natural denoted the day. The One who called out Orion, who took the canopy of darkness and lit it with the chandelier of stars; He came, with no human pomp and circumstance but to poverty, sin and a violent world. The route selected for Him was stony, without adulation or adoration but with mockers. Not with the finest stallions in pageantry would he make His way to the coliseum or the acropolis but flogged and barefooted He would make His way to the ignominious mount of sculls, Golgatha.

Hebrews 13:1, 2 says, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Isaiah 7:14 declares that the child born would be called Immanuel, that is “God with us.” To think that we are so geared and taught to make much of the finer things, the noble, to esteem and even give advantage to some classes of people but in the process were taught to align ourselves to the proud and spiritually blind… To think that Jesus’ ministry was most effective among the publicans and sinners and not abundantly among the Pharisees (religiously astute) and those given to the letter of the law… Is it any wonder that He would say in Matthew 25:40 and 45: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me…” Oh, that we would awake and wash off the old and put on the mind of Christ and confess as Jacob did: Genesis 28:16: “And Jacob awaked out of his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.”

As we close out this year and begin the new, let us review our motivations and be searched out by the Lord (Ps. 139:23,24) and value every soul He puts in our path and be about the Father’s business. For in eternity to come He will show us what we did or how we welcomed Him when He, the Immanuel, visited us daily in the garment of the common man, the betrayed lady, the struggling drug addict and the tender heart of the undiscovered.

Let us meet Him everyday, in the closet of prayer and devotion and in the public thoroughfare of our daily engagements…let’s endeavor to find Him in one another, through the Gospel and in brotherly kindness.

With Great Love and Thanks for your encouragement and support in our call to Puerto Rico…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year