A few years ago when we were serving in North East India, my wife shared one of her experiences with her patients. There was this patient whom she had helped deliver, but it was a still born baby. A few months later the lady returned for a check up and after attending to her Sonia told her she could conceive again. So the husband and wife left her chamber but seemed to hang around her wherever she went. As she stepped out of her Doctors chamber and moved around the hospital the couple didn’t leave her side. She noticed this seemingly strange behaviour and paused to ask them why they were responding in this way. The husband replied that they had visited more than 5 hospitals before coming to her, and all of them rejected them saying they would not deliver a still born baby. Sonia was the only one who agreed to deliver her already dead child. As a token of appreciation they were offering her Rs 50 to buy herself some sweets. (This was an extremely poor couple.)
When you look at the gospels, Mary had a very similar experience at the time of Jesus’ birth. We were told there was no room at the inn (Luke 2:7) and it was in the crucible of rejection that Christ was born. Even as he grew up Jesus knew rejection, he faced it from his family and even his community rejected his message. Right up to Calvary he took it to all the way to his grave when one betrayed and one denied him. I want to ask you how 2017 has been? Have you experienced rejection?
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Rejection does not come from strangers; it comes from those close to you. I do not have a three point message to assist you to deal with rejection but I can offer you comfort that Jesus knew rejection right from his birth up to his death. And if you have felt rejected, he stands beside you in your time of rejection as he perfectly understands what it means. This Christmas my prayer for you is that you find comfort knowing that God fully understands. May he carry you through next year, with hope, with the ability to withstand such rejection even when we do not fully understand. May you and I have hearts big enough to open its doors to forgive those who hurt us and shove us aside.