Jesus Comes for Us–Precisely for All!



The Lord our God loves, chooses, and works with/through a people to right the wrong of their lives and world, whatever, however, whenever.

But, the Lord does so, not just for them, but for all, for as many as will …

The Lord loves his own, so that he may love all.

The Lord comes to his own, so that he may come to all.

The Lord touches, forgives, heals, transforms—saves—his own, so that he may save all.

The Lord’s people receive these amazing and abundant graces from their Lord, as part of their Lord’s plan for all.

Ponder the good news of Christmas in this light—for and through one, for all.  Imagine these words originally for one, then for some, yet somehow now for all:

17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18   as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:17-20, NRSV)

Imagine such words for “saints” and “sinners,” for “worthy” and “unworthy,” for “insiders” and “outsiders,” for “rich” and “poor,” for “educated” and “ignorant,” for “favored” and “despised,” for “cultured” and “crude,” for “peaceful” and “violent,” for “reasonable” and “irrational,” for “preyed upon” and “perpetrators,” for “power-holders and wielders” and “powerless,” for “easterners” and “westerners” from the “north” and the “south,” once for one or some but now for all.

Imagine our Lord Jesus, Immanuel, showing up in the midst, bringing victory, delighting over, lavishing in love, removing disaster, freeing from oppressors of every kind, gathering the outcasts, infirm, and shamed—in all the ways people experience them—gathering them HOME, the place for holy cherishing, joyful celebration, and full restoration.

Imagine what in the shadows of 2020 and the dawn of 2021 appear utterly “unimaginable” and “impossible!”

THEN pray and dream, hope and dare, rise and live to make it so.

But, where and how might we begin?  Where and how to begin with promise of such immensity and grandeur?  I think in small places, in our own small places.  Small as infant-small; small as the human-heart.

Here is a beautiful Christmas anthem that speaks of the small beginnings that could lead to such immensity and grandeur in the new year and beyond: **

Lions and oxen will sleep in the hay,
leopards will join with the lambs as they play,
wolves will be pastured with cows in the glade,
blood will not darken the earth that God made.

Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
life redeemed from fang and claw.

Peace will pervade more than forest and field:
God will transfigure the Violence concealed
deep in the heart and in systems of gain,
ripe for the judgement the Lord will ordain.

Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
justice purifying law.

Nature reordered to match God’s intent,
nations obeying the call to repent,
all of creation completely restored,
filled with the knowledge and love of the Lord.

Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
knowledge, wisdom, worship, awe.

In the New Year imagine Immanuel finding fresh and deep lodgings in hearts and at the center of relationships so that there is redemption from “fang and claw”–a Redemption so that the violence of words and deeds along with the anger that fuel them is mastered by Jesus-love; so that the righteousness and justice of God’s Kingdom purifies law and the systems surrounding and supporting it; and so that wisdom from above embeds among us and leads us to serve the God revealed in Jesus-Immanuel by serving others.

Just imagine it: A Christmas that comes and stays for one and all, with communities of Jesus’ friends in the middle of it all radiating such redemption in all directions.


**(Thomas Troeger. For stirring hymn based on lyrics, as arranged by Glenn Rudolph in response to 9/11, see: )


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