Be Inclusive! A Lesson from the First Christmas!
Immanuel means God with us. Question, who is US? Is US the people who are just like me, the ones who look like me, speak like me, believe like me, or perhaps the ones who go to church with me? Who is US? Is it just the few that I spend time with? I am wondering, who is the Bible referring to, when it says US? Was Jesus thinking of a little group, those whom I love and enjoy, or perhaps a larger group, which may include someone who looks different, believes different, speaks different, someone I don’t enjoy spending time with? Who is US?
The birth of Jesus answers these questions. Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, came as a baby, born in a manger (not a King’s palace or a Priest’s home), in the city of Nazareth (not in Jerusalem or Rome), to a young woman and a carpenter. He was visited by poor uneducated shepherds and wealthy wise men, and soon after his birth, his family migrated to Egypt because He was being persecuted.
Who is US?
US is all, poor and rich, fool and wise, uneducated and schooled, men and women, good and bad, teens and seniors, elite, persecuted, and foreigners. When the Bible says God with us, it means with US all. God thinks big, He is inclusive, not exclusive. When Jesus came to this world, during the first Christmas, God was thinking of all of US, not just your little group, or mine.
On this Christmas day, in the Spirit of the first Christmas, I encourage you to think twice before excluding someone. Immanuel means God with us, with US ALL. Yes, and that includes little kids, the teen girl pregnant out of wedlock, the undocumented waiter with a different accent, the old lady with the 100 cats next door, the addict, the young man who just came out of the closet, the middle-age woman going through a rough divorce, and the cop who patrols your neighborhood. US = ALL.
Want to be like Jesus? Think BIG! Be Inclusive! And remember, You are one of US!
*This was originally written on 12/25/2013