For the past few weeks I have been getting in the Christmas spirit by reading a book by Max Lucado called “Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Tales of Angels, a Manger, and the Birth of Hope.” One of his stories really spoke to me so I wanted to share it through this blog. Enjoy…
Once there was a man whose life was one of misery. The days were cloudy, and the nights were long. Henry didn’t want to be unhappy but he was. With the passing of the years, his life had changed. His children were grown. The neighborhood was different. The city seemed harsher.
He was unhappy. He decided to ask his minister what was wrong.
“Am I unhappy for some sin I have committed?”
“Yes,” the wise pastor replied, “You have sinned.”
“And what might that sin be?”
“Ignorance,” came the reply. “The sin of ignorance. One of your neighbors is Jesus in disguise, and you have not seen Him.”
The old man left the office stunned. “Jesus is one of my neighbors?” He began to think whom it might be.
As he began to look for Jesus, he began to notice things he hadn’t seen. The grocer often carried the sacks to the cars of older ladies. Maybe he is the Messiah.
The officer at the corner always had a smile for the kids. Could it be?
And the young couple who’d moved next door. How kind they are to their cat. Maybe one of them…
With time he saw things in people he’d never seen. And with time his outlook on life began to change. The bounce returned to his step. His eyes took on a friendly spark. When others spoke he listened. After all, he might be talking to the Messiah. When anyone asked for help, he responded; after all this might be the Messiah needing assistance.
The change of attitude was so significant someone asked him why he was so happy. “I don’t know,” he answered. “All I know is that things changed when I started looking for God.”
Now, that’s curious. The old man saw Jesus because he didn’t know what He looked like. The people in Jesus’ day missed Him because they thought they did.
As I read that short story from Max Lucado the other day, I heard echoes of two truths of Scripture:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:37-40
How would we live the month of December differently if we embraced the possibility that an angel or our Savior Himself may be in disguise…right in our midst?
Think about it.
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. My message will focus on being a peacemaker among our family and friends this holiday season. We’ll be doing a deep dive into Matthew 18:21-35, looking at the radical forgiveness that Christ calls us to. Come spiritually hungry! December 16th. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***