“The son of man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ ” (Luke 7:34)

At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation or that moment in time when God, put on human flesh and came and lived among us, as one of us. His was a thoroughly human experience and in him we see the image of God revealed to us in such a way that we can relate to him, and absolutely identify with.

When Christ came he no doubt accomplished extraordinary things, amazing deeds of power. However, he also performed very ordinary things that in the end, because of who he is and why he is doing it, become for me- extraordinary. One of those things is eating. Eating in some ways is one of the most mundane of things, it is part of the everyday. Yet in Jesus hands, even eating becomes awesomely redemptive. So at times in the gospels; meals become the context of transformational encounters with the Son of God.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were appalled at Jesus choice of company- but Jesus did not care. He used his eating and drinking to befriend and redeem sinners. Jesus in the verse above is ridiculed because of the company he kept. He is aware of what others think of him; “here is a glutton and a drunkard,” but even so, Jesus would sooner risk his reputation in pursuit of sinners, then stay at a distance and please the religious establishment.

At this time of year we celebrate the Emmanuel; God come near to us. His outstretched arm reaches and in toward us. I for one am glad that this Jesus is “the friend of sinners.”

Grace and peace from Marcus