SCRIPTURE: Revelation 21:3 (TM)
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God.
When Sir Ernest Shackleton returned to England to report on his Antarctic explorations, he told the king of his consciousness of the presence of God while he traveled lands never visited by man before: “Bending above the oars, struggling through the snow, battling across the ranges, always there was with us Another. He made the difference between triumph and disaster. He brought us through.”
What would happen in your neighbor if a single male moved in next door? He would live simply. Maybe he would attend the various functions at the clubhouse. As he greeted the people, just laying his hand on their shoulders, they felt something surge through them. Maybe they experienced a healing. And the children would run to be with him. They couldn’t be kept away. He invited them into his house and he would be the only adult present.
How would he be welcomed to your neighborhood? What would be said behind his back? Would his motivations be questioned as in, “What is he up to?” Would gossip start flying around the community? One would wonder just how he would be accepted. Wouldn’t we all wonder what he was up to? Wouldn’t we question his intentions with the children? Wouldn’t we struggle over the appearance of a single male, living by himself, and those touches? Strange.
Jesus came in the form of a baby. No fanfare except for the declarations made to some shepherds by a heavenly host. No big deal except for some magi visitation. Nothing unusual. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just another baby being born coming to live with his parents. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing different, but everything was different. His Bethlehem appearance we can deal with. His Galilean ministry we can handle. His Calvary activities we accept. But moving into our neighborhood … living next door … touching us … gathering our children to himself … well, now that is a totally different reality that we aren’t really ready to deal with.
And yet, why is one scenario different than the other? Why is one acceptable and the other not so much? Would it help with the cry came from heaven declared, “Look!” or would we file that away with the “other” strange things related to this new neighborhood living in OUR neighborhood?
Something to think about this Christmas season isn’t it. Christ is much easier to deal with when it happens on the pages of the biblical record. Christ is much easier to handle if he simply stays in Heaven … but next door? In my neighborhood? That is a different matter … and yet, stranger things have happened.
Okay, we hear that your dwelling place is with us. We get misty-eyed thinking about you as a baby, but an adult male living next door is a little more than we can handle. Help us come to grips with a new reality.