nativityI admit it.  When it comes to Bible translations, I tend to pick up one of my old favorites.  I love my great-grandmother’s King James Bible and also the Revised Standard that I was given in 3rd grade Sunday school.

But on Christmas Eve, Pastor Sean introduced us to a new-to-me translation, The Message.  Where the King James Bible says “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,” the Message tells us that “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out,  true from start to finish.” (John 1:14)

Somehow the idea that Jesus moved into the neighborhood is so much more real than the idea that he “dwelt among us.”

A neighborhood is so personal.  It is where you live, where you shop and where the kids go to school.  It is homes and yards and streets and sidewalks. This isn’t just Jesus dwelling among us where we heard these words.  This Jesus walking and talking where we walk and talk.  This is Jesus working where we work, in our schools and shops, in our hospitals and city halls.

This isn’t a far off, distant Jesus in a land of Jews and Romans. This isn’t a Christ of by-gone times or of only distant relevance.

This is a Jesus of today, a Christ of here and now.  This Jesus I should expect to find around the next corner, down the next aisle, in the pew beside me as I turn the next corner into 2015.