Summary: A sermon about the significance of simple occupation by Jesus into our world.
OCCUPYING BETHLEHEM (WITH LOVE)
One of the things for which this year will be remembered is the power of occupation.
The power of letting your presence be known and your existence be felt.
Beginning last January, Time magazine details 27 different points of occupation around the world: In places like Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and others people gathered to occupying public places to let their presence be declared.
In September the occupy movement began when a bunch of common people camped out in a small park between Wall Street and the World Trade Center site. News of the event first spread via Twitter posts. Their method was to occupy a space therefore letting their presence be known.
It is not a new strategy.
2000 years ago the power of occupation was demonstrated through the birth of a child.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us NIV
So the Word became human and made his home among us. NLT
The Word became flesh, and lived among us. HNV
Christmas is the story of God’s occupation, not in protest nor defiance, but the occupation of love into this very real world where we live all year long
It was an interesting tale about a bunch of common people camped out in a stable, central among them was a newborn child. Majesty taking occupation in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure. Divinity enters and occupies the world on the floor of a stable through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.
The news of this occupation traveled by the voice of angel’s song and shepherd’s tales.
His motive was not out of frustration nor was his heart demanding.
Rather, his motivation was compassion and His heart was gracious as love took occupation beginning in Bethlehem.
THAT is the wonder and amazement of Christmas.
It is the fulfillment of the prophecy:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23 NIV
He was not among the 99%. Instead, He was God’s only begotten one…His one and only.
He came for the 100% of our population.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
I believed in the power of occupation.
There is understanding in occupation. (not just knowledge)
• Ten years ago, in a suburb of Rochester, New York, Peter Lovenheim was out walking his dog. He was surprised to see a TV news truck parked down the block. What was going on?
As it turned out, a horrible tragic death had occurred new to where he lived. Lovenheim was shocked — not only by these violent deaths but by how little true community existed in his suburban neighborhood. He knew the family only slightly.
Soon a “For Sale” sign appeared in front of the house. The family vanished and the impact on the neighborhood was slight. He asked himself, “How could that be? Did I live in a community or just in a house on a street surrounded by people whose lives were entirely separate?”
Good question. Do we live in communities or in collections of isolated houses? To find an answer, Lovenheim did what any normal American suburb-dweller would do: He asked his neighbors if he could sleep at their houses.
Yes, that’s right. He requested that he be able to spend the night with them, to get to know them better. Although his daughter yelled, “Dad, you’re crazy,” a surprising number of neighbors agreed to his request. And the result, reports Jennifer Howard in the Washington Post (April 18, 2010), is the book In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time.
As kids it is a common experience to go and spend the night at a friend’s house. Consequently, occupying their home gives you a much clearer understanding of their lives because you see their “true colors.”
Jesus did not come to be a guest, but to take up residence with us, but to embark on the long journey from infancy to toddler to young child, to adolescence and eventually to adulthood.
He came to share a relationship that is impossible if you keep some kind of respectable distance.
You REALLY get to know people when you take up residence with them.
How many great friendships have been put to the test and some failed when they tried to share an apartment or a dorm room.
• When I was about 13 with a 15 year old sister, a 17 year old sister, and a 9 year old brother, my grandfather came to live with us.