This will be my last post for this year. It has been a full and rewarding 2019. I especially appreciate all the guest writers who contributed to Global Notes. We are all richer from hearing so many different perspectives on God’s work around the world.

As we anticipate Christmas, I want to paint a picture for you of God’s grace integrated into the birth of Jesus. “Grace” is the Bible’s one-word declaration that God unconditionally loves us – no matter who we are, and no matter what we have done. Recently I learned that the Old Testament term for grace (chen) means, “to bend, to stoop, to show great favor.”

The word stoop caught my attention. It reminded me of many small Maasai homes we had entered. (similar in height to a hobbit home, perhaps?)

Whenever we arrived at a traditional Maasai home, we had to announce our presence by saying, “Hodi.” If someone was home, they would reply, “Karibu,” which means, “Welcome.” We would then have to stoop into their short doorway. Taking that action and stepping through the doorway meant we entered their world, sat on their little stools and accepted their hospitality. We did it out of love for the people, desiring to be with them. Our times in their homes are some of our favorite memories. It’s where we made friendships, as we entered their world and accepted their offer of humble and gritty surroundings to make us feel at home.

Now imagine that little dwelling is your home, and Jesus stands outside saying, “Hodi.” When you say, “Welcome”, HE STOOPS, just like that Old Testament word for grace, and enters in as a gift of grace. You now are in his presence. He comes in to visit with you, in your dark and gritty setting, and he enjoys the hospitality you give. It doesn’t matter what else is in there. What matters is that YOU are in there and you invited Him in. Mission accomplished. He will help you clean up. He has now been welcomed into your home and the relationship begins.

Jesus stooped down into this world as a baby, and as the Risen Christ he eagerly arrives at the doorway of everyone’s house to be invited in. And once he hears you say “Welcome”, he is the Grace of God revealed to you as he enters in. You know him in a very real way now as Immanuel, “God with us.” “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,