A few weeks before Christmas, in the year 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi staged the first recorded nativity scene in a small Italian town called Greccio. It was a reenactment of when love came to earth in the inconvenient form of an infant child.
Saint Francis was known for his passion around the incarnation. The reality of Emmanuel — God with us — drove his life and his ministry. In a time of often dour spirituality, Francis preached the gospel of God’s presence among us.
This year, churches and homes across the country will remember the babe born in a lowly manger with small creches and nativity scenes. And so 800 years later, the tradition lives on. But we have to ask, how many of our homes and worshipping communities will truly be reenacting that radical love come to earth? We know the promise is that God is with us, but are we fully participating in demonstrating that love to our neighbors?
This is why I love working with our Covenant Partners. Each one of those church relationships is a reenactment of love come to earth. In a divided world, it is a beautiful witness to see individuals and communities come together to learn and to serve. It is a witness not just within the church but to the entire world that God is with us. All of us.
If you are reading this message, there are likely many ways that you are living into this truth in your own life and community. But I would like to I ask you to consider giving to New Baptist Covenant this season. Your gift will go to support all of our work of racial justice and reconciliation, including our Covenant Partnerships and grant program.
We are working to help Baptists across the country reenact the incarnation, to put on in full display God’s presence in our world. I hope you’ll join us.