Whenever I look at a nativity scene, I am always aware of how many disparate creatures gathered together to celebrate the baby Jesus. Where else would one find new parents, a little baby, barn animals, shepherds, and angels gathered in the same place? Not to mention the magi, who arrived later with fancy gifts. What an interesting assortment of God’s creation!
The ability to gather people together was a gift that Jesus carried with him his entire life. He had no need for social conventions that stipulated who was “supposed” to be a part of gatherings. Jesus always made sure that all were included. The woman who had been married several times and others tried to avoid? Jesus had a long conversation with her. The tax collector who had defrauded people of their money? Jesus went to his house for dinner. The unclean from whom most people backed away? Jesus laid hands on them and healed them.
Christmas is a popular time for gatherings – parties, dinners, worship services, etc. At your gatherings this season, take some time to observe who has gathered. Who is present? Who is not present? Who is included? Who is not included? Who is in? Who is out? Jesus took great care to welcome all at his gatherings – often going out of his way to include those who were usually excluded. May we do the same.