Father Damien was a Belgian priest in the 1800s who went to a village on the island of Molokai in Hawaii, a village that had been quarantined as a leper colony. For 16 years, Father Damien lived with these people that no one else wanted to have anything to do with. He learned their language. He served them. He built homes for them. He organized schools and choirs. Rather than being careful to keep His distance from the lepers as most would have done, He got right up next to them. He bandaged their wounds. He ate with his patients, sometimes out of the same dish. He touched people that others considered untouchable. Gradually, throughout the course of his years of serving there, that village was transformed. Despair was replaced with hope. Yet for years he was still different in one very important point. They were lepers, and he was not. Then one day he stood up before his congregation and he began his sermon with two words. “We lepers,” for he had contracted leprosy while living among the people. From that moment on people in that village saw this servant in a whole different light. Now he wasn’t just living among them. He wasn’t just serving them. He had actually become one of them. Not only would he share their life, now he would die as they died.
On Christmas we celebrate the day that God came to our village. He didn’t just come to help us. He began His message by saying "we lepers." We sinners. He had become one of us. He took on our sin.