We often talk about “The Christmas Story,” as if it were one single story. Actually, it’s made up of a number of individual stories, each of which tells us something unique about the Christ child. The story of the Annunciation tells us about Mary’s openness to God’s plan. The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth tells us how John the Baptist – Jesus’ forerunner – was called at birth. The stories of the shepherds and the Magi tell us that Jesus is worth searching for.
There’s another story we don’t often think about because it’s not as long. It’s the story of the innkeeper whose closed doors led Mary and Joseph to the manger. But just imagine for a moment that he did manage to find room for them after all. His inn, not the manger, would be honored throughout the world. There would likely be a grand church marking its location, and pilgrims would flock to it year after year.
As Advent begins, let’s not be like the innkeeper. He missed a grand opportunity because he didn’t make room for Jesus.
Many of us will gather with family and friends this Christmas. Anyone who has hosted these gatherings will tell you how time consuming the preparations can be The want to create a pleasant, welcoming environment, so everything has to be just right. But no matter how much work is involved, they don’t mind. The thought of seeing everyone together makes the work feel lighter.
Let’s have this same attitude toward Jesus. Let’s get ready with joy and anticipation, even if it involves some work on our part. Let’s embrace the opportunities to pray a little more, to examine our lives, and to show more love to the people around us.
Our first reading tells us that “the days are coming” when God will visit his people (Jeremiah 33:14). Let’s dedicate the next-twenty-four days to making our hearts as open and welcoming as possible so that Jesus will find a comfortable home there.
“Lord, help me to make time for you this Advent.”
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
– The Word Among Us –