He was scandalously conceived outside of a proper marriage,
born outside of his society’s attention,
and immediately a refugee outside his homeland as he fled brutal political power.
He brought contempt and rejection upon himself for the company he kept and for daring to assert that God is present outside–
outside of our ideas of beauty and purity,
outside our social circles of acceptance,
and outside the narrowness of our hardened hearts.
Jesus reveals a God of love who, in the words of German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “turns to the very places from which humans tend to turn away.”
If Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, then this presence of God is itself an invitation to join Jesus in his mission outside. May faith in Jesus give us the hope and love to turn to those outside and to make a home for them in our lives–
and in doing so, welcome God with us.
Andrew Staron is an assistant professor of theology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia