In the blazing heat of a Tel Aviv June day he walked, knees rubbery, soaked in sweat, engulfed by foreboding and inner angst, into the fortress-like U.S. Embassy. At the appointed time he was ushered into the office of the U.S. Consul General, told to raise his right hand and repeat these words:
I…renounce my United States nationality together with all rights and privileges and…allegiance thereunto….
His name is Michael Oren, born in upstate New York, raised in West Orange, New Jersey, American to the core. However as he grew up a passion for the nation of Israel pulsed in him so that, as a young man he moved to Israel, lived and worked there, married, began a family and assumed dual citizenship. In June of 2009 the new Israeli Prime Minister asked if he would serve as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. But U.S. federal law requires all who assume such a position serving a foreign power to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Gulp. Out of duty and care he made that sacrifice (From Ally, by Michael Oren, Random House, 2015).
Christmas celebrates a far greater “setting aside.” Jesus “being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant and being made in human likeness….” (Philippians 2:6,7). Immanuel. God…with US! Thank God today for the utter incongruity: God became a baby (!) so you would know He cares.