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Welcome into the Christmas story

The Christmas story is full of unlikely characters. None of them are obvious choices to witness God coming to earth.

Those on the edge are brought into the heart of the story. The unremarkable places find themselves at the centre of the action.

Bethlehem is such a place. Nazareth even more so. They are not terrible. There are plenty of worse places. But they were nowhere in particular. Bethlehem was David’s city, but nothing much happened there anymore. It was just unremarkable, and yet all of a sudden it found itself the setting of this incredible world-changing, life-transforming, reality-altering moment in history.

God is in all the forgotten places, the backwaters, the airport towns, the sleepy villages. 

In a backwater town, from nowhere special,
Welcome into the story

The Christmas story is full of people who find themselves on the fringes, he sees us and is near to us in the weary and mundane moments of life as well as the monumental. In the simple act of a mother caring for her child, we read of some of the first moments that Jesus experienced in this world. Deep in the humanity, agony and yet wonder of childbirth we read of our Saviour who has come near. In the confusion of their circumstances, a young mother and a husband who steps forward into the empty space of an earthly father figure, hold God in their hands.

“She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” – Luke 2:6-7 (NLT)

Teenage Mother, Fatherless Child,
Welcome into the story

"Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." - Luke 2:11 (NIV)

These amazing words are spoken to shepherds living out in the fields near Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Perhaps they felt tired, excluded, overlooked. Perhaps they were exhausted, weary of their essential work. 

Yet it is to these shepherds that an angel of the Lord appears and declares the birth of a Saviour, the birth of the very Messiah ('anointed one') that God's people had been waiting for. It is these common shepherds to which God reveals this glorious reality. And it is these weary workers that witness a great company of the heavenly host praising God. An ordinary night shift is transformed as the shepherds witness the life-changing, world-changing reality that the Saviour has been born.

The overlooked and excluded, working to make ends meet,
Welcome into the story

With God there are no outsiders. Everyone is invited in. God made himself known to the unremarkable, and he continues to do this everyday. That’s what our resource OUTSIDE/IN is all about. What would it look like for us to welcome in those who may find themselves on the edge this Christmas? How can we open our doors and hold out our hands to those around us, inviting them in and echoing those words: ‘welcome into the story’?

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