Christ is present in this world

The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge - Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

During the Christmas season we give thanks for the birth of Jesus and his life and ministry of thirty-three years. Those who wrote the birth narratives revealed that through Jesus, God’s presence seeks to be present with everyone from the lowliest to the elite. Because there was no room in the inn, Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger.” (Luke 2:7) From a stable birth he grew to care for the sinner and the saint alike with a loving, forgiving, and generous heart. Even when he was put to death by the Roman Empire he managed to forgive those who mocked and crucified him. His message was to share the good news of God’s love for everyone without exception.

Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and brilliant spiritual writer of the 20th Century, expressed this inclusiveness especially for the rejected. He wrote, “Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at

all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, and yet he must be in it, his place is with those others who do not belong, who are rejected by power, because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world.”

Edward Hays put it this way, “The marvel of Christmas is that God preferred to become flesh not in a sanitized, beautiful artificially divine world or temple, but in the grime and crime of our grubby world.”

The New Testament story tell us that God came to us in a simple fashion to incorporate even the least of us into God’s life and to give us a vision of God’s kingdom that will lead us from this life to the next.

Rejoice that you are included in this love no matter what your situation may be, whether you are rich or poor, weak and discredited, rejected because of race, sexual identity, age or status. God’s love is not artificial. Love came down at Christmas as a baby who grew to become the anointed one, the Christ for all of us. Christ is present in this world for you.

The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge

Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

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