Life in the Margins – Advent 2013
In design, it’s the white space that makes things more beautiful. Much beauty is lost when the margins don’t exist.
With a beautiful crown of silvery hair, she walked slowly into the service already begun, a half hour late. Leaning heavily on a cane, she made her way to the seat for one such as her…handicapped. Carefully, she placed a thermos of hot caffeine on the floor and set her cane down quietly, to not disturb those primped in their best, sitting around her.
Then, it happened. The cane rolled slightly and settled. But, not before tipping the thermos and spilling hot coffee in a downward stream on the polished grey floor. The woman gasped and pulled herself up. Hurrying despite the pain, she fled the room. Moments later she returned. Balancing on her cane, she dropped paper towels to the wet floor and began mopping up her accident with her right foot. Up and down she swayed…a balancing act. Bending to clean wasn’t an option for her. So she did her best to clean up the mess. And, all around her watch. But no one raises themself out of their warm seat to help a struggling older woman. They’re too intent on listening to a sermon on love.
In the margins. In the church. Overlooked.
My heart breaks at this.
I know I’m not alone. There is One who sees. One who was born into the margins. One who lived in the margins.
And His name is Jesus.
By all standards of his day, He didn’t measure up. Imagine, the King of Kings, God Almighty, overlooked by His own created small beings.
He loved the margins, because He loved those in the margins. Those overlooked by a society of self-importance and comfort seeking are seen by this One.
Do you find yourself there?
In raising a child with special needs, there are times I do. Limited in what you can do, for the sake of the best… serving your family in this way God has called you.
Are you handicapped? Or dealing with a disease that impairs your mental abilities? Suffering with chronic illness that no one around you can see or understand? Maybe, your moments are spent caring for a loved one unable to care for himself and your world has blended into the unseen, wrapped up in the meeting of crucial needs, out of love? Jobless and struggling in a downturned economy? Perhaps, you’re still grieving the loss of a loved one from years ago, and those around you have said to just get over it and move on already. In your shoes, they know they would’ve.
But that’s just it. They’re not in your shoes. They don’t know.
And you fall by the wayside in this hustle and bustle.
My friend, know this…Jesus loves you immeasurably more than you can ever imagine. When He lived on this big spinning blue marble, He spent his time with people in the margins. In fact, He preferred it.
Maybe it’s because those living in the quiet of the margins have ears and hearts that can hear, without the disruption of the blazing lights and great sound systems.
How interesting that the all-powerful God chose not to be with the powerful, the power-seekers or attention grabbers, but with the unseen ones of this world. He spent his time with those who were ignored, forgotten, passed over, those who in the eyes of this world didn’t measure up.
Maybe the best present we can give this Christmas is the one Jesus spoke of. Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me. Can we pour ourselves out, as He did, be the body and blood of Christ, for others to partake in, that they might find life? Can we share in the sufferings of another soul to lighten their load and bring life and joy to one so often overlooked by the world?
Christ never dropped money in a basket for the “unfortunate” and went on his merry way. No….He met them. Befriended them. Really knew them. Helped them, healed them to lighten their load. Ate with them. Laughed with them.
And He continues to do that today.
If you find yourself in the margins this Christmas season, know that He sees you. He is the God who sees.
You are of great importance to the One who dwells in the margins. And His name is Jesus. Look for Him and He’ll meet you right where you are.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” Genesis 16:13