God moved into the Neighbourhood

I love the translation of John 1: 14 in The Message: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.” Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have Jesus living down the street? And imagine if we heard that he was moving into the neighbourhood but we did not know where he would live or even what he looked like. I wonder how it would change the way we treat our neighbours. Every time someone new moved in we would eagerly knock on their door with a welcome package. We take time to sit down and talk to them, listening carefully to everything they had to say wondering “Is this the One? Is this Jesus in disguise?”

I was thinking about this yesterday as I talked to a local pastor about how to help get his congregation out of the pews and into the neighbourhood. We talked a lot about the idea that God is already present in every person he has created. Early Christians believed that they were privileged to live in a non Christian world because they believed that it was through their interactions with those outside the faith that they learned more about God.

Maybe Jesus has already moved into all our neighbourhoods and we just need to recognize him. He is present in the lonely person who lives 2 houses away and in the overwhelmed mother trying to juggle job, kids and home. He is also present in the homeless person who sits at the end of the street begging for money. Part of what we all need to do during this Advent season is take time to look and to listen for the presence of God in those around us and learn to respond in a way that welcomes Christ into our midst.

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