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Becoming Poor

An Advent Meditation

The Christ came through a teenage virgin as she was sojourning in Bethlehem, a backwoods no-name town. There was no room for him anywhere, for “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Is 53:2). He was wrapped in animal swaddling cloths and laid in a feeding troth. He was born as one who we would not seek, or desire, bearing resemblance to a beggar, the disabled, the underdog, the immigrant, the untouchables.

Truly, he is one of us. For most of human history, and for many around the world today, wealth, power, influence, and luxury are not something they will ever achieve by circumstances outside their control. I believe this is the reason why Christ was born poor. Because, while wealth is not at the grasp of every human being, poverty is. The poor may not always become rich, but the rich can always become poor.

Those who have nothing to boast about can only boast in their weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9). The poor in Spirit boast in their inheritance of the Kingdom. Those who mourn boast in the comfort they receive. The meek boast in their inheritance of the land. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness boast in the satisfaction they have received. The merciful boast in the mercy they have received. The pure in heart boast in God’s revelation of Himself. The peacemakers boast in their adoption. Those who are persecuted boast in their inheritance of the kingdom. Those who are weak boast in the joy of the reward waiting for them in heaven (Matt 5:2-12).

The poor find joy with empty hands and empty stomachs. And this is our boast. That we can rise above vanity and find joy, purpose, and meaning in being salt and light, and in the Son.

The Holy One of Israel became a poor helpless child that all may have the opportunity to find him. That the rich, like the magi, could leave their comforts and travel east searching for the son. And the poor, like the shepherds, find him right where they are.

Come, Immanuel.


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