I wonder if at first Mary and Joseph were really all that excited to share the very private event of their child's birth with the whole world? We think of them as the Holy Family, the perfect ones who shared their joy of God with everyone that first Christmas night. But what if we stop and think about the fact that they had been forced to travel miles in the days that lead up to this event just so that they can be counted by the government? Furthermore, Mary had to be tired. And they both had to be still confused about what God was up to in this child. And yet, the heavenly hosts invite STRANGERS to come see their precious child that night. God makes the private to be public that night. God makes strangers into friends. God sends Jesus so that all of humanity is connected.
As a Mentor for youTheology, or youth leader, I wonder if you ever feel like a stranger to the world that the young people of the church find themselves in...often. I feel like I will never know what it feels like to be a youth in today's world. Sometimes, I can convince myself that I am a stranger to their experiences; that my age removes me from their problems and that since I do not walk in their High School hallways with them, we have nothing in common. And yet, God sends Jesus to us so that all can be connected.
This Advent/Christmas season, I pray that mentors might find a way to remember that because of Jesus, all of humanity is connected. Our differences no longer define us, except that we are all the same because of those differences.
by Emily Carroll
youTheology Mentor Coordinator
Loving God, Loving Neighbor