The Most Displaced Person in HistoryBy Joe Stowell on December 6, 2019
Have you ever felt completely out of your comfort zone, totally removed from all that's familiar? It's the feeling of being displaced. We cherish familiar settings, places that we have grown accustomed to, places that are compatible to our relationships and lifestyle. In a fast-moving, mobile culture that pushes us from here to there like tumbleweeds, we long for a familiar environment to provide sanity and serenity.
For most of us, displacement can be stressful and scary. For some, displacement is more than a fear—it's a reality.
Many permanently displaced homeless people walk the streets of our inner cities; some by their own doing, others through devastating life circumstances or mental illness. In the marketplace, many find themselves displaced from jobs, and all the meaning and fulfillment they received from being productive in the workforce has suddenly disappeared. Throughout history, wars have displaced sons and daughters. Think of all who are displaced as a result of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and forest fires. Cruel and oppressive regimes have spawned pilgrimages of millions who fled the tyranny of fear, leaving the comforts of their native land to move to unknown places. Whatever the cause, displacement is an unwelcome and unsettling prospect. It almost always means loss and sacrifice.
That's what strikes me about the wonder of what happened at Christmas. In order to rescue us from this fallen place, Jesus became a displaced person. He relinquished the privilege of reigning as Creator and King in order to incarcerate Himself in the body of a child. He spent 33 years walking on this planet rejected by His own, scoffed by His family, misunderstood by both political and religious leaders and ultimately crucified. Why would He have voluntarily and so dramatically displaced Himself from the grandeur of His glory and all the marvelous perks of paradise to subject Himself to that?!
Some of us might willingly be displaced as an act of sacrifice if the cause were great enough. But, as Paul notes in Romans 5:7, "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die." Which makes the next verse all the more incredible: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
The stunning point of Christmas is that God considered my needs and the worth of my relationship to Him to be sufficient cause to endure the trials of displacement. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," the apostle Paul wrote, "that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus displaced Himself to guarantee a permanent place where eternally I can be secure, safe and satisfied without any fear of ever being displaced. I find it interesting that what I am longing for here can only be realized there. Thanks be to God, my permanent address is already assigned to me and, if you know Christ as Savior, so is yours.
So, at the start of the Advent season, let's not miss the wonder of what really happened at Christmas. Jesus Christ was the most significantly displaced person in history—and He did it willingly so that permanent displacement would never be our fear. What amazing love!