I love this provocative portrayal of Jesus’ birth story, for all sorts of reasons, but primarily because of its linguistic and theological accuracy.
According to the Gospel of John, “…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
But that Greek word for “dwelt” is the word for “tabernacle”…”the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
But a tabernacle is just a tent…”the Word became flesh and lived in a tent among us.”
Jesus wasn’t born into royalty or a mansion. He was born out of wedlock to a teenage mom and a blue-collar stepdad. And they all immediately became refugees, fleeing their homeland out of political persecution.
So we welcome a Messiah who intimately knows poverty and oppression, suffering and pain, grief and loss. Jesus is uniquely present with the poor and the marginalized, the hurting and heartbroken, because he’s experienced those same struggles. The plight of the underprivileged and overlooked is not an abstract concept. These are the very people he has come to, bringing hope and healing.
Jesus is with my old friend who is lonely and in pain. He’s with my new friend whose camper home just burned to the ground and is struggling back to his feet. He’s with my spiritual hero who has lost his wife and now stares down the end of his own earthly journey.
This Christmas we celebrate that Jesus sees us and meets us in the midst of the intricacies of our lives. “The Word became flesh and lived in a tent among us.”