He was born in a manger because there was no room….no room for the King of Glory in a home, in a hotel, in a hospital, in some people’s hearts. Somehow someone found at least enough room to offer a manger, a lowly wooden box filled with hay in a dirty stable, crowded with animals that had probably perfumed the air with all but heavenly scents. The unwelcoming arms remain today, defiantly crossed as we watch television screens that bring news that we do not agree with, cannot tolerate, and will not accept. Racism runs rampant. Fear flies freely. We still have no room in our hearts some days. Rachel still weeps.
Baby Jesus is sleeping soundly but the Incarnate One never dozes. Emmanuel is there in the boat, tossed by the waves, arriving in the dark of night on a distant shore. God-with-Us is on the ground, bleeding, because Black lives do not seem to matter as much as other lives. Another missing and murdered Aboriginal woman goes unnoticed. A whole community boils water for 17 years while we complain about a few days.
Some days it seems like the Light will never overcome the darkness. Some times it is easy to give up on Hope and to give in to despair. Reading the whole of the Christmas story is not easy. Mary, so very pregnant, plodding along with Joseph, who must have been wondering whose baby this belonged to and what was going to be expected of him. Sullen innkeepers turn them away from even humble comforts, their pockets full of money for those who thought to book accommodations ahead. A shiny star turns heads. Shaggy shepherds show up speaking of angelic hosts. A fearful king schemes violently. Men dressed in fancy robes, bear odd gifts for a surprise baby shower that had no other guests. Then suddenly, the Holy Family must flee, and behind them is a trail of blood that scars a nation. How did those people survive such a catastrophe?
They survived as we survive–because of that little babe born in a manger. The Prince of Peace permanently reigns. The Wonderful Counselor accompanies us, broken and hurting, through the desert of Egypt back to daily hidden life where a Holy Family carried on, knowing full well that others were massacred. We carry on too, despite the horrors that touch us directly or brush past us but leave us shell-shocked. We have an infant Messiah that we can bow before who understands our every need. This Saviour came as a vulnerable human being that was small enough to hold in our hands. It seems inconceivable. Take some time to contemplate this Infinite Infant prior to Christmas. In your imagination, cradle the God-Child in your arms. Stroke his brow. Let him smile upon your face. Welcome the Almighty for a few moments and see if it changes your heart.
Where are you unable to welcome the God Child this Christmas?
What does Jesus have to say to you as you cradle him?
God-Child, open my arms and heart to welcome you to my world this Christmas.