Christ’s Birth, the Great Equalizer
As many Sunday mornings as are possible in my sometimes hectic schedule, I like to attend the Salvation Army service in Wetaskiwin. Over the past couple of years it has become my church home.
I enjoy the fact that there are no distinctions made between so-called social stature nor race. It matters not if you are dressed in jeans and a T-Shirt or in a suit and tie, all are accepted as part of God's family. No one is turned away nor looked down upon. There are no fancy fixtures or expensive furnishings.
As a broken, inherently sinful people, we tend to fall into the belief that we aren’t good enough to be forgiven, or used by God to minister to others.
God uses very unlikely people for His purposes throughout the Bible but nowhere is it more evident than during Jesus birth, life and ministry. Take for example Mary. She was a young woman, betrothed, but not yet married to Joseph. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and announced that she was chosen to give birth to a baby that was to be called Emmanuel, (Hebrew for, “God with us”). A pregnant unmarried woman in those days was at great risk of being stoned to death. Despite the risk, she accepted the task given her, and her husband to be, stood by her, also at great risk.
When time for the birth came, shepherds, the bottom of the social ladder, and not even included in synagogue ceremonies, were made aware of the birth by angels so that they could be witnesses to what had taken place in the manger in Bethlehem. Then Magi, (wisemen) from countries outside of Israel , not Jewish leaders nor Jews themselves, were led to the manger by a guiding star so that they could see the baby and bring gifts befitting a royal birth.
It was very clear that God Himself made no distinctions between people, they are all equal, and His children. However it didn't stop there. When Jesus grew to manhood, gathered disciples around himself and began His ministry, He again choose the most unlikely candidates from a diversity of backgrounds and definitely not of high standing. Four fishermen, a tax collector and two political activists. The exact vocation of the other five is not known, but none were the creme de la creme of the days social order and certainly none were from any of the religious leaders of the day.
As Jesus travelled from place to place performing miracles and healings. He dined with the downtrodden and ate with tax collectors. When asked why He did this, His answer was simple, “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” He drove demons from the possessed. He made the blind to see, made the crippled walk, and healed lepers.
All this could have been done with great fanfare and celebration. Kings could have been in attendance, but that would have missed the point. He came for you and I, the common man, the sinner. He didn't care about social standing or wealth. He came to forgive and reconcile us to the Father regardless of who we are and what colour we are or where we were born. He didn't require fanfare and celebration. The fact that His birth was foretold generations in advance, was born of a virgin, angels proclaimed His birth, was then crucified and rose from the dead, was more than enough to proclaim Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
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