Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

I usually have the Christmas party on Sunday, but Christmas has been wandering away from Sunday year by year, and Jordan had to fly out today, so I decided to have the party yesterday. Jordan had invited us to have it at the Youth Hostel, which is a bit roomier than my apartment, and we started doing that, but the staff at the Youth Hostel decided to cash in on the idea, and told us that we had to pay a fee of 200 RMB in order to stay. Fortunately Jack was there, and he called the folks at the coffee bar where we usually meet on Sunday. They invited us over there, so we decided to move, and it turned out to be the best arrangement. The coffee bar was pretty much empty except for us, so it turned out to be a win win situation. We ordered pizza from Pyro pizza, and this time the delivery guy only got lost once.

Last Sunday, as I was sitting in the English service, I had my Bible open on my lap, and my eyes caught a phrase from the Chinese version. 外邦人的光 (wai bang ren de guang). Translated, it would mean, "Light of the Gentiles." But the term "外邦人 (wai bang ren)" is very similar to "外国人 (wai guo ren)," which means "someone from the outside country." In Japanese, it would be "gai koku jin." For some reason, the concept stuck in my mind. Light of the outsiders. Jesus was an outsider, who was born to outsiders. There was no room for them in the inn. He wasn't from the best part of the country, either. "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" is the way honest men described the place. And think of his parents. No place for them at all in polite, upper class society. They were so poor they couldn't afford the sheep that is offered for the birth of the first born son. They had to take advantage of an exemption in the Levitical law that allowed poor people to bring two pigeons instead. Certainly we know that the birth of Jesus to such a family was not an accident. Jesus was 外邦人的光. The Light of the outsiders. The unlucky. I thought about it again last night at the Christmas Eve service. When Lisa asked me if I was going to the Christmas program, I told her that I probably would not, since Jordan was going to be with me, and I didn't see the point in standing outside for hours and hours, only to be turned away at the last service. She told me she could get a couple tickets, so I decided to go. But looking at all the people who didn't know somebody, and were not able to get a ticket, I felt a little guilty going in. Couldn't help wondering where Jesus would be standing if He were there. The light of the outsiders. 外邦人的光. Always and ever, Jesus took the side of those who were not included. Left out. Poor. Dispossesed. This is the real message of Christmas.

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