Just a few days ago I was bemoaning the fact that I “needed” to come up with not one, but two Christmasy outfits. After all, we would be attending both the Christmas Eve service and Sunday morning worship on Christmas Day.
Wanting to be extra-holiday-ish, I complained that I owned only one festive outfit.
And then I invited some new friends that have been homeless since November to our Christmas Eve service.
This mother and son have no home, no income, and must depend on community and church aid for food to sustain them.
As soon as the invitation to join us for church left my mouth, it became uncomfortably clear that my earlier clothing complaints were ridiculous. Rather than focus on my holiday ensemble, I immediately felt compelled to consider what not to wear. I didn’t want the issue of “church clothes” to be a barrier to accepting my invite. So I told our guests that my husband and I weren’t dressing up for Christmas. Come as you are, I assured them. We’re just happy you can join us. Mom and son thankfully accepted!
I’m trying to spend time with people that experience life differently from me, with new friends that are in situations I’ve never imagined for myself. In this somewhat awkward process, I wonder how they will view me. Sure, I can throw on a pair of jeans for this weekend’s worship to maybe help those with tattered clothes feel less uncomfortable. It’s a nice little gesture. But a larger hurdle needs a bigger leap in my heart and mind. Beyond efforts to “dress down” will an attitude of “looking down” on the these dear ones seep through my welcoming invite?
Here’s what I hope I’m not wearing to our Christmas services~
a look of judgement,
a mind clouded with pre-conceived notions,
and an air of superiority.
As we don the spirit of Christmas, have we shedded the clothes of a critical spirit, and the attitude of all-knowing and elitism? Can we take off these layers, or do they smother the love of Jesus to the least of these?
This is a big weekend on the church calendar. We’ve decked the halls of our worship facility, fine tuned our instruments, rehearsed the kids’ choir, and carefully prepared the Christmas message. We’re dressed to the nines, as the old saying goes.
But central to an extravagant celebration is a humble beginning.
He made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.
And this is where we begin to help those in need. Humbled to serve another.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.
And this is how we continue. Draped in a wardrobe of humility.
Because rich, or poor, or in between, we are all equal at the foot of the cross.