Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Stranger

It's about the little guy on the right, kneeling and waving his hat. He was part of this Crèche scene my mother-in-law gave me those years ago. He's not a Wise Man, clearly not Joseph, has a little sheep at his feet but that doesn't make him a Shepherd, he certainly isn't dressed like one. That leaves only one possibility: he's the stranger.

I have a friend of Jewish background who once joked to me about an estranged relative being "the stranger" at our table. She explained that it was a Jewish tradition to welcome someone from 'outside' their circle, especially during the Feasts in Israel. I read that in my Old Testament as well. Welcome the stranger for you don't know, they may be angels as those, for instance who visited Abraham...

I also like it because God always makes a provision for everyone and He encourages us to widen our circle, make room for the stranger. Different customs should not be allowed to put a wedge between us. He said Israel was once a stranger in Egypt. Haven't we all been strangers at one time or another? This is where the gift of hospitality mentioned by Paul becomes so meaningful. We are encouraged to draw out our heart and give selflessly. I just love God's character.

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