On that first Christmas morning, in that dingy stable, the King of Kings was born as a helpless baby. John 1:14 says, “…the Word (that is, Jesus) became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” The Message translation reads,

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

You know what it means: Emmanuel – “God with us.”

It’s the entire point of the Christmas story: God with us. From his first newborn cry, Jesus was with common working class shepherds as well as wealthy kings from far off lands. As He grew in wisdom and favor, He was with renowned teachers and religious experts. But more often than not, He went to the homes of ordinary families like yours and mine, and He spent time with everyone from tax collectors to prostitutes, soldiers, fishermen, business owners and government officials. He knew no strangers.

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Jesus loved us—His neighbors—so much that he stepped down from Heaven to be with us on that first Christmas morning. In light of that, don’t you think it would be an appropriate response for us to step off our front porch and go meet a neighbor across the street? If you peeked behind the decorated doors in your neighborhood this Christmas, you would meet…

People like Elizabeth, whose dreams have been on hold.

People like Zechariah, convinced nothing will ever change.

You’d meet families who persevere in prayer even when it doesn’t seem like God is listening.

People like Mary, full of faith and trust—ordinary women who are special because God chose them.

People like Joseph, who lay down their rights in the name of righteousness.

You would meet people working hard at hard jobs like the shepherds.

And foreigners like the wise men who want to know more about this King born in Bethlehem.

You would meet people longing for the gift of unfailing love and faithfulness—people who write GRACE on their gift list and wish for just a glimpse of peace in their little corner of the earth.

They are waiting for the glory of God to be revealed. They are searching for a sign that someone sees, someone cares, someone has heard their prayer. They all need something that seems impossible this year.

This is what you can give your neighbor for Christmas: Share your life with others as Christ shared His life with you. To do that, you might have to leave the comfort of your home and step into the neighborhood, just like Jesus did.

The Christmas story is about Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, John and Jesus—and it’s a story about you, and me, and our neighbors.

It’s about persevering prayer to a God who still specializes in the impossible.

It’s a story about waiting for God’s gifts. It’s a story about the kindness of God to us and the power of the Most High in us.

It’s a story about loving others so much that we give up our rights, and lay down our lives.

It’s a story about a King who was born in a stable, who still lives in our neighborhoods today.

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