Remember the claymation classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? You should, it's been broadcast continuously since 1964. Rudolph and rebel elf Hermy leave the North Pole in search for greener grass (or would that be whiter snow?). What they find instead during their adventure is an island filled with discarded and defective toys, The Island of Misfit Toys. There is some very interesting group psychology going on here, but I'll leave that for your observation. What is fundamental however, is that these toys never got a chance.
Jesus, himself was rejected. A rabbi with no formal training. A prophet from Galilee. A "sinner" who didn't wash his hands when he ate and healed on the Sabbath.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22)
And Jesus made a habit of hanging around sinners and tax collectors, going outside of the city and healing lepers, and even striking up conversations with Samaritan women.
We have this image of a perfect Christian either by what they say, what they wear, or what they do. Our church's doors are open wide for Christians like these! But who wants to sit next to the broken and the rejected, the defective and discarded?
When we gather together to celebrate Christmas we welcome family, but only reluctantly the black sheep child or the stereotype drunk uncle. We gush about our latest accomplishments and look down our noses at the single parent or the grown child without a job. Funny how we act the same at church and at home.
We forget that Jesus, even on the night he was born, was rejected. There was no room at the inn. Instead a baby was brought into this world in a stable, surrounded by livestock, feces, and feed. Unclean. Unwelcome. Rejected.
Praise be to God for that misfit! Who so humbly was willing to love a misfit like me.
Jesus and I, "We're a couple of misfits..." (sing along!)
Do you feel rejected? Do you feel unwelcome? Most importantly, at this holiday season, do you feel alone? You don't need to. Jesus was rejected first and he loves you. If you are not welcomed by family or by church this Christmas, you are welcome to feast with Jesus.
"'Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests." (Matthew 22:9-10)
There's a seat saved for misfits like us. Come, let's celebrate.