‘You’re one of us now’ indicates inclusion, often through an initiation. My daughter’s partner longs for the day Australia includes him via citizenship. It will be a huge milestone, passing from stateless to citizen. Less formal initiations hold significance for us too: acceptance into a social group, a sports team, or a local community group. Then there’s the darker side – the groups we reluctantly fit into and find hard to leave.
Christmas is founded upon God generously becoming one of us, with the incarnation of Jesus, the God-man. Born into humble, risky circumstances, this young family soon ran for their lives, becoming refugees. No longer ‘one of us’ but ‘one of them’. Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t come as a ruler, but identified with various disenfranchised people. Joan Osborne pictures God as ‘just a stranger on the bus’ in her song One of Us . That’s a long stretch from some of our ideas about God, but captures the common humanity of Jesus well, with a subtle, (very biblical!), implication to care for the strangers around us too.
Hence, Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy was created to intentionally enable people to become ‘one of us’ without major barriers. A Chaplain has been provided by Lane Cove Uniting Church to be welcoming, supportive, available and non-judgemental for anyone in our community. This can be simply a chat over coffee or as part of a group. Being ‘one of us’ can look very different to attending a Church service these days. Contact me (details below) if you are interested.
We were designed to be in relationships which bring mutual richness to our lives. Christmas should be a time of joyously giving and receiving love. Hence, this Christmas, I encourage you to prioritise your relationships, to build on the ‘us’ you may have been blessed with. Others are not so fortunate. Can you help to welcome someone into your circle? Especially this Christmas when many are stranded away from their loved ones. Alternatively, donate to others who are providing Christmas hospitality like Wayside Chapel .
It’s been a tough year, so let’s be gentle with ourselves and gracious to others.
‘Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other’ – Jesus
Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a refreshing break from all of us at Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy.
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.