“… and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:7)
How symbolic that there was no room.
Mary was a young, pregnant woman. Joseph, her spouse, was an older man and not the father of her child. They were a poor. They were Middle Eastern, refugees at one point, in fact.
If Jesus were born on December 25th, 2017, I fear there would be no room. I’m not referring to “room” in the sense of a suite at a local Holiday Inn. Rather, I am referring to “room” within our hearts.
Without knowing the miraculous circumstances, would we rush to judgement, dismissing Mary as promiscuous, perhaps going so far as to label her with hurtful names? Would we be inclined to question Joseph’s motives because he married her? Because they were poor, would we simply write them off as, “lazy individuals who, were having a kid so they can live off the government?” Would we be overwhelmed with a sense of paranoia and suspicion because they were Middle Eastern?
It would only get worse as Christ grew up. As a child, his schoolmates would make fun of him after overhearing their parents talking poorly about his parents and their financial circumstances. As an adult, anything he said would be scrutinized as radically liberal or staunchly conservative. As a result, those that didn’t agree with his teachings would label him one way or the other, dismiss him, and slander him – doing everything within their power and pocketbooks to ensure he was silenced. And lest we forget, he’s middle Eastern, so he would consistently be labeled as a terrorist by his nay-sayers.
Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have it easy either. The same judgements cast upon their son would be cast on them, perhaps much worse. All because a sad majority of insecure people would cast narrow minded judgements and believe rumors instead of taking time to learn the truth – the miraculous, glorious truth.
Truly, Christ’s birth, sufferings, and death would not be much different today than they were over 2,000 years ago. And yet, as we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
How loving, forgiving, and awesome is God that even amid all of our judgements, condemnations, rumors, hatred, ethnocentrism, and cruel nature, He would still desire for us the rewards of eternal life?
In fact, Jesus will, in essence be born on December 25th, 2017 – and every day thereafter. If we are indeed, “one body in Christ, created in the image and likeness of God,” then each child, born each day, is indeed, a child of God. Whether that individual is born of a single parent or a traditional family, black or white, rich or poor, healthy or disabled, Democrat or Republican – as a child of God, he or she should be given the same love and respect we give Christ. Our role is not to judge, or role is to love. And as we read in Matthew 25:45, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.‘”
The unfortunate affects of hyper-partisan politics have damaged our government, the private sector, and indeed, the pulpit. As 2017 comes to a close, how hypocritical and yet spiritually necessary it is that we find ourselves packing churches, shopping malls, and our dining room tables – all of which to celebrate the birth of a savior, who, if born today wouldn’t stand a fair chance at life.
As we call to mind the miraculous event that occurred on a cold December night in a stable near Bethlehem, may our hearts be warmed with love, compassion, and understanding. May we seek to lead lives free of judgement, gossip, hatred, and bigotry. May we genuinely find room in our lives for Christ – and all of God’s children. Not just in our religious rituals on this special holiday, but in our daily routines.
May our hearts be ready for Christ’s glorious second coming. So on that day, he can look into our eyes and say, “I came as a guest and you received me.” (Matthew 25:35)
In a world so crowded with noise and hatred, make room for Christ. Always make room for Christ by showing compassion to those who need Him most.
For even amid our shortcomings, a child is born.
J. Basil Dannebohm
24 December Anno Domini 2017