Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear"1 (Lyrics)
My husband Lynn and I served as missionaries in Madagascar during the 1970s. Though we felt welcome there, we knew that we would never be mistaken for native-born Malagasy! We had to learn to appreciate new foods and new customs, and we had difficulty wrapping our tongues around an unfamiliar language. Once, Lynn asked a shopkeeper (in English-accented Malagasy, true enough!) for a particular item. The shopkeeper profusely apologized for not speaking English — until another customer pointed out to him, "He is speaking Malagasy." Though we tried our best, we were never able to totally blend in with the society around us. We were always aliens in a foreign land.
Jesus was the ultimate alien here on earth. If we humans sometimes feel out of place in our own world, imagine how Jesus might have felt as a heavenly being in an earthly body. When Jesus came to earth as a tiny infant, He was God's gift to the whole world — wrapped, not in wrapping paper and ribbons, but in swaddling clothes. He — the Son of God — came to earth as a newborn infant and lived out His life here as a human being with all the feelings and experiences that human life entails. How thankful we can be that He willingly left the halls of heaven to grow up as the son of a lowly carpenter in Nazareth.
John 1:14a – The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. (MSG)
Yes, we, as believers, can also sometimes feel like aliens in our world. Obvious external features such as race and language can make us feel out of place in some settings. But we — as redeemed children of God in a worldly setting — are also set apart from the world around us, as strangers and pilgrims whose real home is in heaven.
Philippians 3:20 – But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. (NLT)
- This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
O Lord, You know, I have no Friend like You.
If heaven's not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
Time in Madagascar came to an end for Lynn and me, and we returned home. Jesus returned home after He had completed His work on earth. Like Him, we, as believers, have a purpose here on earth, but we can look forward to spending eternity in our true home. Though we are just passing through this world with heaven as our final destination, may we fully engage in a life of love and service to the world around us, as we seek to honour and obey our heavenly Father.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, we are so grateful that You sent Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to share our humanity. May we follow His example as we seek to live a holy life in the middle of a sin-ridden world. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.