Monday, December 4, 2017

Everyone Is Welcome…

Submitted by Lara Cook
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I went to the movies with my niece and nephew.  We saw an adorable movie about the Christmas story told from the animal’s perspective.  There were some dramatic liberties taken in making the film but most of the film stayed true to The Greatest Story Ever Told.  One of my favorite parts of the story was one of the dramatic liberties taken.  
During the movie, when the wise men stopped at Herod’s palace asking about the newborn King of the Jews, Herod told them that the baby would be born in Bethlehem.  After they went on their way, Herod sent a ferocious guard and two attack dogs out to find Mary and Joseph and Jesus, of course, this is not part of the biblical account.  After the guard has an unfortunate accident, thedonkey moves toward the attack dogs and cuts the collars and chains off them.  As the chains fall away, one of the dogs says, but…we are bad.”  The donkey replies “You don’t have to be.  Now you are free.”  
The next scene of the movie is Mary and Joseph in the stable with baby Jesus.  All the animals gather round the newborn King and in the door way are two pairs of glowing red eyes - the former attack dogs.  Some of the animals quickly react, not wanting the dogs near Jesus, but the donkey says “No, let them come in.  Everyone is welcome here.”
These two scenes in the movie were very symbolic of the amazing grace of our Lord and the compassion and acceptance He has for us, even after we have lived a “bad” life.  Our past falls away with the chains of sin that Jesus cuts away from our lives as the donkey did for the dogs.  Jesus changes us and gives us a new hope.  A new story.  In Him we find redemption, hope, joy, and a future, despite our past failures.  They don’t matter to Him. He accepts us and loves us just as we are.  The “bad” dogs were welcomed into the presence of the newborn King, and so are we. We are included in His royal family, an heir to His kingdom.  We are invited.  We are welcomed.  All are invited and welcomed, in the presence of the King.  
This Christmas season, remember that this King came for you.  No matter how shameful or undeserving you feel, wait in anticipation and expectation, because He came once and is coming again for you and is requesting the honor of your presence in His presence, for eternity.  

Scripture to Claim:
…so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:7  ESV

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