The whole family was at my parent’s home for Christmas and when we all got together in those days the sounds could be heard across town. Our family has never been considered quiet in the first place but when you throw in parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren plus a cat and a couple of extra dogs, well you get it, it’s like the movie Christmas Vacation for millennials.
As the volume was increasing and the night was getting later the grandchildren were playing downstairs and some of the adults were sitting around the living room enjoying the time with each other, my grandmother asked, “Where are my people?” Grandma had been dealing with Alzheimers for a few years, and after we relocated her from Florida to live near my dad in small-town Iowa. She had been settling into a new normal. She was still aware of who she was, but would occasionally forget who everyone else is especially when things got a little chaotic. That night as we quieted down a little, each one of us reassured Grandma, “We are your people.” My dad told his mom (my grandma) that he was her people. All three of us grandchildren lovingly told her, “We are your people.” The great-grandchildren came up and said, “We are your people.” It’s been years since Grandma has died and we continue to smile and remember that day, even though she was surrounded by family Grandma asked, “Where are my people?” and the echoes of love as each person assured her, “We are your people.”
As we make our way through Advent and draw near to Christmas maybe you have heard the angel Gabriel’s message to Joseph. This just man who only wanted to do the right thing finds out that his wife-to-be is pregnant and he just wants it to all go away quietly. I mean if the girl you are about to marry is pregnant and you didn’t have sex with her, well, someone did. And the answer that the child to be born is the “son of God” is unbelievable, so he just wants it to all go away quietly. It seems like everything is going wrong for Joseph, this wasn’t the plan. Maybe as you look at this year, you’re saying the same thing about your life? Maybe life isn’t going as you planned, or maybe you feel like everything is going wrong?
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matt 1:20-23)
From the very beginning, it has been God’s plan to save “his people.” God went through all of this to “save his people from their sins.” People who didn’t believe that the baby Mary was carrying was the “son of God,” I mean, I wouldn’t believe it if I were Joseph’s friend. Here we are over 2000 years later and people still don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God. And yet, these people are “his people.” We are “his people.”
I hear my Grandma’s question in the back of my head, “Where are my people?” And I am reminded by the announcement of the angels to the shepherds, we are all His people.
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
This year as you celebrate the birth of Jesus who will save his people from their sins, remember you are “his people.” As you look around your home and your neighborhood, remember they are all “his people.” As you look for meaning and belonging during these days of confusion, may you be reminded we are all “his people.” If you are looking around and asking yourself, “Where are my people?’ I hope you remember that you are “his people,” that Jesus came to save you from your sins and this is Good News of Great Joy for all people, including you and me. You are “His people” and He loves you.