Trevor Noah, comedian and host of The Daily Show, was featured on 60 Minutes last week. I’ve been thinking about one sentence he said. “Everyone is trying to belong.”
“To belong.” It’s a theme in his comedy because it’s his story. He was born into apartheid South Africa to a black mother and white father. He never quite fit, always feeling like an outsider. Noah’s comedy is best when it hits on divisive topics of race and politics because he exposes everyone’s desire to be accepted. It’s the one thing that unites us. To belong.
As we approach the manger this year, we must remember all the ways Jesus arrived as an outsider.
Born in a two star town in the shadow of Roman oppression.
Placed in an animal feedbox instead of a crib.
Born to a socially powerless teenage mother.
Arrived as a King and yet no one noticed except sheep herders, foreign Magi, and two elderly inhabitants of the temple courts.
Escaped as a refugee in Africa while baby boys were slaughtered in Bethlehem.
Thomas Merton captured this sense - a Savior who didn’t belong. He wrote, “Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.” John put it this way: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him” (John 1:10).
If you have ever felt you didn’t belong, Jesus has more. If you approach the Christmas circus of celebration with fear of being “out,” know that Christ has come for outsiders to be “in.” He’s not to be found in the glossy nativity scene, but in the grit of life denied and discredited. Here is where Christ arrives. He belongs with those who do not.