From Father Thomas McKenzie . . .
“Christ was always an outsider.
Though he is the Son of God and the King of the Universe, he was born to a lowly couple. As John’s Gospel says 'he came to that which was his own, but his own people did not receive him.' (John 1:1)
Among the Animals
He was such an outcast that he wasn’t even born in a room fit for humans. Rather, he was born among animals and laid in a feeding trough . . .
During this Advent season, you may feel cast out.
Perhaps you feel like the black sheep of your family.
You feel rejected, like they would rather have you sleep in the garage.
Or perhaps you are the one looking down your nose at your relatives. You just can’t bear the thought of those people coming into your home.
In either case, it’s important to remember that the One we are expecting comes to us through the lowest of places. He knows what it means to be rejected, and he implores us to receive the lowly in his Name.”
What do you think it means to be “lowly?”
Maybe take a few moments to look up the definition or some synonyms.
Interestingly, Jesus describes himself in Matthew 11:29 as being “gentle and lowly in heart."
In a few days we will celebrate the birth of Jesus . . . the ultimate “lowly one” . . . the One who left all that he was and took on the form of a human servant, humbling himself in obedience to His Father in order to demonstrate the Father’s love for us.
When I think of how he laid down his life continually for us, ultimately going to the cross and dying in our place, I am humiliated by how little I “receive the lowly in his Name.”
If you’re like me, there may be someone in your life right now that you are looking down upon, someone who you’d rather not spend time with this holiday season. I often think “What if Jesus felt the same way about me as I sometimes do about others? Would he have laid down his life for me or just written me off?” As you listen to this song, be deeply thankful for Jesus’ obedience to His Father, that “while we were still sinning,” Jesus gave his life for us.
God has not rejected you.
Spend some time asking God to fill you with His grace towards anyone in your life that you are struggling to accept, to love with His love today.
Father Thomas McKenzie was a beloved figure in Nashville, Tennessee where he pastored Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican Church he co-founded. He was author of The Anglican Way and a number of other books, and was also a popular figure on social media where he’d offer pop culture commentary from a faith lens.