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Christmas is for Foreigners

Hal Habecker

Dec 17

“Christmas is for Foreigners” (Isaiah 9.1,2) 21st Day of Advent December 17, 2022

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9.1-2).

Isaiah makes it very clear – “Galilee of the Gentiles” - Jesus is coming not just for His own people but for the Gentiles and the entire world. He will come for a “people who walk in darkness,’ “those who live in a dark land,” and “the light will shine on them.”

Jesus and the Gerasene Demoniac (Tissot, James Jacques Joseph, in Galilee of the Gentiles)

Mark 5.1-13

Simeon understood it this way as well when he quoted this passage in reference when he saw, held, and blessed Jesus on the 8th day of His life. “A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES” (Luke 2.32, quoting Isaiah 9.1,2). Jesus came for foreigners.

We saw this truth in yesterday’s lesson of unlikely people in the linage of Jesus. Rahab and Ruth were foreigners.

And there are more. The magi were from a foreign land. They were from the east and traveled the fertile crescent to see Jesus. Knowing that Jesus was born as the Light to foreigners who live in darkness, we are not surprised that foreigners appear in significant ways.

May I apply this truth personally in two ways? Frist, I am one of those foreigners impacted by Jesus and the Christmas story. I am a Gentile for whom Christ came and for whom Christ died.

Second, how many unlikely and/or foreign people will be impacted by you and me this Christmas season? In other words, if Christ came for foreigners, shouldn’t our lives impact foreigners and unlikely people this Christmas season? In a typical Christmas season, we interact primarily with people we all know – family, relatives, friends, people at church we all know, etc.. We love to spend Christmas with people like us.

But what about the Iranians that live across the street? The Asian family next to them? And the immigrant family that just is further yet?

May I encourage us to invest in foreigners this Christmas season? Perhaps neighbors we do not know or do not know well? People we’ve never met in our church? Strangers we’ve never met before that we’ll meet in some way through our ordinary lives? Will any foreigners or unexpected guests eat with us at our table this Christmas season?

There may be even “foreigners” in your own family this year. Welcome them to your life and perhaps your table?

Christmas is for foreigners and unlikely people. And if they cannot come to your table this year for a meal, perhaps you can engage them with a phone call, a FaceTime, or a note of encouragement.

Preparing for Christ’s coming is the anticipation of and the welcoming of foreigners and unexpected people. Will we include them in our lives this Christmas season?

Happy 21st Day of Advent.

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