I Was Born in a Small Town…
As we grow up, we run from our home towns–our family and their issues; our church and its issues; our neighbors and their issues; and our own failures in behavior and relationships. For us, we see our escape from our past as our salvation.
In the story of the birth of Christ, we see Jesus’ birth become the personal salvation of Joseph. In order for salvation to come into his life, Joseph had to return to his home town–literally and figuratively. And it is back in his home town–where Joseph’s failed ancestry as a descendant of David is shoved in his face by the ruling empire of Rome–that the new Son of David, the new King of the Jews, the Messiah would be born. Joseph’s salvation came in the place of all his pain and embarassment. Salvation always does.
See, Jesus was Joseph’s savior and of you and me specifically because he redeems and heals our past. He doesn’t help us escape from it, but rather lives his life in the places of our woundedness. As you follow the story of Jesus’ life, you find that again and again he is intentionally re-living and redeeming the failures of those he came to save. Rather than running from our home towns, we need to go with back there with Jesus and let him redeem the dysfunctional childhoods, the broken hearts, the stupid decisions, and the hypocritical churches. In order to move forward, we need to go back. If we give Jesus the opportunity to enter into our past, he will transform the things that embarass, anger or embitter us into things that become part of the progression of God’s salvation in our lives.