At our Tuesday staff meeting, I shared with the staff the story of a mayor who had experienced great success in re-making his city. Crime drastically decreased during his term. The murder rates tumbled, and the town enjoyed a month without a murder for the first time in over fifty years. The mayor was successful in convincing gang members to walk away from their gangs. Drug trafficking fell off precipitously, and private investment in the economy of the city significantly increased.
A great many mayors would love to have this kind of success. Lots of people bring excellent pedigrees to their positions. The mayor for this city held degrees from Ivy League schools and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. More than the exceptional education he had received, there was something this mayor brought to his commitment to serving the city. He chose to live in the worst part of the town.
Among the drug dealers, the prostitutes, the gang members, was where the mayor decided he would take up residence. His decision to live in the midst of what was wrong in his city was credited with the city’s turn-around. The reason he decided to live in the squalor? His faith compelled him!
Next Wednesday, we will celebrate the birth of our savior, the one who chose to leave the splendor and glory of heaven to live among us amid our squalor. The perfect son of God came to live here among us, and in so doing, has made a seismic difference in our lives. Because of Immanuel, God with us, we realize God is not some remote, uncaring celestial being who is ambivalent toward us.
This Christmas, let’s celebrate the God of love, whose love compelled Him to come and dwell with humans who could never merit such grace. Let’s also choose to honor what Christ has done for us in coming to live among us by considering how we can be a blessing to those who need to know someone else cares about them. This Christmas, let’s decide to risk a bit of our comfort to reflect the light of Christ to someone whose life is filled with far too much darkness.