What do you think of your neighbors? We all have neighbors and we live in neighborhood communities. Sometimes we have good neighbors and sometimes we have neighbors that get on our nerves. There have been neighbors featured on television and in the theater. There was Mr. Wilson who lived next door to Tim the tool man Taylor. He would peek over the fence and say, “hi-di-ho, neighbor.” What about Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood? He was always introducing us to his neighborhood characters and scenery.
There is an interesting scripture about a new neighbor. John 1:14 in the Message Bible says, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” That verse says, that Jesus moved into our neighborhood. Jesus left heaven and came to our neighborhood earth for 33 years. He was introduced to our neighborhood in Bethlehem. He lived among us for those years as a perfect example of how to live life. What did Jesus bring to our neighborhood?
- He brought His love – No person ever loved us like Jesus. In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus brought His love and demonstrated that love in the ultimate way. He laid down His life for you and me on the cross of Calvary.
- He brought His grace – The word, “grace” means the undeserved, unmerited favor of someone.” Jesus gives you and me grace for our failures and messed up lives. His grace is undeserved by you and me. We sing of the, “Amazing Grace” and another hymn calls it, “Grace Greater than All our Sin.” Jesus brought His grace to the neighborhood.
- He brought His truth – Jesus not only said true statements, but he lived a life of integrity in front of us. Just think of all the true statements in His teaching. The Golden Rule, the Lord’s Prayer, the parable of the Prodigal Son. We can spend a lifetime trying to understand His teaching and still not comprehend it all.
- He brought His salvation – Jesus said in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” When Jesus came to our world, our neighborhood, He came to bring salvation. When Jesus died on the cross one of His last statements was, “It is finished.” He was not finished, but the plan of salvation was finished. Three days later He would rise from the grave in victory.
This Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus moved into the neighborhood. God became a man and Mary gave birth to the Savior of the world. Jesus went away from our world and ascended back into heaven. He is coming back to our neighborhood again. The Apostle John records at the end of the Bible in Revelation 22:20, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
May we all be ready to welcome Jesus back to the neighborhood in the future.
Blessings for Christmas,
Rev. Richard Humphries
Pastoral Care & Sr. Adult Minister