Good morning. I am getting settled in our new home. We hung some pictures last night, so it’s beginning to look like home now. We’re still getting used to apartment living, though. It’s a difficult thing for little boys to remember that people live below and don’t prefer to hear stomping and wrestling and banging on the piano. Fortunately, we have a park just next door, so daily trips to play and run and shout are helpful. 🙂 I finally have some coherent thoughts running through my head, so I thought I’d attempt to blog this morning. We’ll see if I can finish before being interrupted.
I’m the new kid in town. I’m feeling it. Though the people I’ve met are very nice, none of them are my friends (yet). Conversations take work. We’re all still figuring each other out.
I’m still finding my way around. Is it Ok to park here? Where does this hall lead? I’m figuring things out — which Wal-Mart is the safest and cleanest, which short-cut gets me there more quickly, what time the mail arrives, where to go to pick up packages. Yes, I’m definitely the new girl.
I don’t have a church family here. I don’t have a group of girlfriends here. We don’t have a full schedule of Christmas parties. I walk through the grocery store and don’t see one face I recognize. I don’t really belong yet.
I’m not having a pity party; I’m just stating the truth. 🙂 I’m hopeful I will find friends and feel like I belong, eventually; but I know these things take time.
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the God I serve. He is the God of the misfits, the God for those who don’t belong. He draws in the loners and lonely, the outcasts and stragglers. I can think of many examples throughout scripture, but this morning I was thinking about the shepherds. The ones who heard the message of the Messiah’s birth straight from the angel’s mouth and ran to worship Him.
The shepherds were living out in the fields. Removed from the busy-ness of town and the hustle and bustle of people, they were scattered around the countryside with a bunch of sheep for company. I imagine it got pretty lonely out in the fields.
I have heard that shepherds were not highly-regarded members of society in the days when Jesus was born. I have read that they were sometimes called names, that they were often smelly, that they spent a lot of time out in the countryside away from the rest of the community. The shepherds may have felt like they were on the outside looking in, like they didn’t really belong with the crowd in town, like they were outcasts or misfits.
But God regarded these shepherds highly. He wanted them to be the first to know. In their quietness and loneliness, He sent His good news. He lit up their darkness with His glory. He sent a whole host of angels to proclaim the Messiah’s birth to this group of loners up in the fields.
And because they were removed from the hustle and bustle of town, because they were alone up there in the countryside, they didn’t miss the message. They ran to find Jesus in the manger.
Because I’m the one who doesn’t belong here in my new town, I’m removed a little from the hustle and bustle. Though I’m not a loner by nature, I’ve become a bit of a loner by circumstance. And so I have more opportunity to hear God, to find my belonging in Him. He is the God of misfits and outcasts, the God of those who don’t belong. He is my God. And I am experiencing Him in a new way.