While it doesn’t quote any bible verses that I recall, the Christmas Claymation classic, Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer, has a very Luke 4 message. The majority of special is about the nobody’s becoming somebody’s, the forgotten being remembered, the odd balls finding a purpose. Rudolf falls into that category, of course, because of his shiny nose that glows. So does Hermey the elf, and Yukon Cornelius. And the pièce de resistance, all the abandoned toys on the Island of Misfit Toys.
That story has long resonated with people, because many have experienced that feeling of being a misfit. It may be an occasional feeling, or it may be perpetual. Something about you leaves you feeling off, different, like an outsider.
In rereading the Christmas story from Luke chapters 1 and 2, we see that the story is made up of outsiders, oddballs, and outcasts. But when we read of Jesus’ first sermon from Luke 4:14-30, we discover that misfits don’t just make up the cast of characters of Jesus’ origin story. Misfits are the cause for which Christ came—“the poor/lowly, prisoner, blind, and oppressed.”
That’s good news regarding all the places where you have felt like a misfit, all the places where life has laid you low. Jesus really is preaching words of inclusion, belonging, freedom, and healing directly to you. But as we progress through the story, we are reminded that Jesus doesn’t prioritize or privilege you more than others.
Sometimes we love the idea of a God who shows kindness, favor, mercy, and unconditional love to misfits. We just want it to be our kind of misfit. Our family. Our friends with our kinds of convictions and conclusions. Our people. Our party. Our religious or social circle. But when we reread what Christ did and why Christ came, we can’t help but remember that in the fullness of the Christmas story, there is no us and them. There is only us. Us and grace. Us and mercy. Us and God’s unconditional love for All God has made. Good news of great joy that is for ALL people.