A Christmas Devotional
I heard yesterday that Nathanael and Carrie, CLB missionaries to Chad, had just moved into the village in Chad where they will make their home (last name removed for their safety). They were given the option to wait until after Christmas, but they wanted to be there FOR Christmas! I began to ponder the significance of this move.
For them, they are moving into a very primitive living situation (by our standards) with three small children. With no family or friends for miles around, they will be among strangers (new friends) who are very different from them in so many ways. Nathanael and Carrie do not speak the local language. They will not have the Christmas comforts that they are used to from their own backgrounds. And their new neighbors do not share their joy of Christmas. Why would they do this? Especially just before Christmas!
They are so vulnerable. So weak! Like little babies, they cannot even speak the local language! They will be stumbling around like children, learning the village “systems” of living. They don’t have a strong support system to help them out. Vulnerable, vulnerable, vulnerable!
Yet they arrive as the ambassadors of the Lord of the Universe! They come with all the resources and power and authority of Jesus Christ. This is a cosmic event with eternal significance and under the commission of God himself!
The strange thing is that those villagers have no clue. They just see these strange foreigners who don’t know how to live there (and will eventually have to be taught practically everything about living in their village). These folks don’t know the power and authority and Truth that has just “arrived.” They probably do not understand much of how God has been setting the stage, both in preparation of them as villagers, and Nathanael and Carrie and their children. God’s cosmic plan is unfolding in that unsuspecting village.
What a profound picture of the first incarnation — when the Creator-God “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:18, The Message). “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to all!” (Luke 2:14).
This is God’s way.
Dr. Joel Nordtvedt serves as the Regional Pastor for the Central Region of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.
For a profound monologue on this same issue of the incarnation, check out the by Walter Wangerin, Jr., An Advent Monologue, from Ragman and Other Cries of Faith, Harper Collins, 1984 (Link to Amazon.com).