The richness of Christ's birth is in part about those living in deep, distressful deprivation. It is about the marginalized who live without clean water, sufficient clothing or adequate shelter. It is about the powerless, the weak and forgotten.
You won't find the impoverished in the seats of governmental power. Homeless beggars are not chosen to lead great corporations. Indigents do not serve on administrative committees of wealthy churches with million-dollar budgets. A poor peasant woman like Mary will not be elected to lead big, powerful religious denominations.
Power and prestige belong to the rich, successful and socially prominent. But God turned the tables on money, success and acclaim with the birth of the Savior in a forgotten stable on the back side of nowhere.
The Almighty did not choose Jerusalem, the seat of governmental and religious power, for the birth of the Son. Mary did not deliver her baby in a palace with royal attendants and a skilled midwife to care for her every need.
A dirty blanket used to carry her on the back of a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was her delivery table. An animal feeding trough was her baby's crib.
From this wretched setting, "(God) has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).
The poor might be excluded from power and have no social prestige, but the birth of Christ opened the door to the riches of the heavenly kingdom for those rejected and forgotten by society's movers and shakers, those who do not allow the poor to partake in their power structures.
The impoverished who walk through the open door into the lowly stable and worship the baby in the manger have been given a seat at the table of Christ to eat the bread from heaven and drink the cup of forgiveness.
Moreover, they have been given a scepter to share in his eternal reign. The opportunity to enter the kingdom of God through faith excludes no one, not even those excluded from participating in religious, governmental and economic power.
It is written, "(Christ) was rich yet for your sakes, He became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
The humble birth of Christ brought the mountains low, filled in the valleys, and made the rough places smooth.
From the squalid poverty in Bungoma, Kenya, where my friend Pastor Stanley Mukhwana ministers the love of Christ, to the streets of Kiev, Ukraine, where my friends Pastors Val and Lora Pavlenko serve abandoned street children, there are no barriers for all to sing, "Joy to the world! The Lord is come!"
The Rev. Dan White is the pastor of North Columbia Church in Appling.
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