To The One Born Outside the Inn
(From the Outside the City Gate’s Team)
We pregnant-ly await the One who came and saved us from this topsy-turvy world, from ourselves, from an inherited separation. And in the manger, on our dirty hands and knees, we come low. To look the Eye in a storm. We come and we bring our hearts poured out like frankincense and myrrh.
“But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” Matthew 2: 21-23 NLT
They were refugees, exiles living in another land when they returned. Though fear tried to rule their day, their God-dreams gave courage and urgency to go or come back.
Advent is about light in the darkness. And there is so much darkness. Yet the flame came.
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:3,4
And we see what was meant for evil was turned for good, even here at the beginning. Before the Pharisees plotted, before the people followed and deserted, before the soldiers mocked, before the whips and abuses, and before the atrocities of Herod’s hunt. Because in the beginning the Word was with God. Even before Christ died, many had already died before Him, because of Him. What a burden that was on His infant shoulders, even before His ministry began.
But we know the ending from the beginning, don’t we? The victory is complete. It is “finished” and fulfilled.
As we look around this world, as our hearts cry out for God to stop the madness, we are buried by the sadness. We see many Herod’s of today carrying on overseas and we see children dying on our own.
We are wrenched from our seats as we ask, “Can anything good come from this? How, O’ God?” And with our simple, confounding faith, we see the goodness of God swaddled, born outside the walls of comfort. The same One who is destined to die outside the city gate.
We are not too proud to know we could have been the ones who denied Him in our fear-riddled minds. We are not too proud to feel our own hearts.
But then He came again. And we are like Phillip when Nathanael exclaimed, “‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?'” We, being disciples, say, “‘Come and see for yourself,’ as Philip replied.”
For there is Jesus and we are seeing for ourselves “the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth,” who was born for us. He came and lived among us, the eternal clothed in skin to be with us. And we long to commune with this kind of God that loves, the purest kind, because He is love.
As much as Advent is about light (among darkness), it is also a love story in and to a hurting world.
~Merry Christmas! From those of us Outside the Gate celebrating the One born outside the Inn