The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Room In the Inn

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

The fact that there was no room for the Holy Family in the inn at Bethlahem on that first Christmas should make us take a step back from our harried holiday season and wonder. The birth of Christ was no surprise. God had planned for it from the beginning of eternity. How could there be no room in the inn?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el. (Is 7:14)

Many centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophets announce his birth to a virgin. They even told us the place where it would happen.

But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)

So what happened? Did God forget the one little detail of accomodations? This event was no secret. How is it possible that there was no room, when the child born on that Christmas owns the inn, and Bethlehem, and the world, and every bit of room inthe entire universe?

Of course, God did all of this on purpose. There was no room in the inn because it shows that the world has rejected God. The world makes no room for its creator. There was no room in the inn because God wanted to show us that His Son comes as a Savior, to redeem a world that is largely in opposition to God. Being turned out at the inn foreshadows the fact that the Savior himself was to be rejected, despised, and even crucified. And all of this was part of God's plan from the beginning.

Today, that lack of room in the inn at Bethlehem is a stark reminder of the clutter in our own hearts. We fill our lives with everything except God. Before long, He has no room to reside in our souls. How often do we wish people "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?" We'll give secular relativism and political correctness a place in our lives, but Christ, the very reason for the season, gets set outside.

We crowd out the least of our brothers and sisters, the very people whom Christ aligns himself with most closely. The dregs of our materialistic culture have no place in our lives. They are the homeless; the mentally ill; the forgotten elderly we warehouse in nursing homes; the unborn we allow to be killed so we may live as we wish. Christ is with them, but we have no room in the inn. Our schedules are far too busy to accomodate them. "Move them along. Someone else will take care of them." We have far too much shopping, work, and all the other anxieties of daily living to make room for them.

Despite all of that God loves us so much that He sent Christ to change all of that; to give us the means to covert our hearts to make room for Him. All He asks is that we welcome Him into our lives and our hearts. And that means we welcome everyone; the most defenseless; the most forgotten; the very least of our brothers.

This advent, let us consider all of those who need a room in the inn, and if we are unable to help them with physical means, at the very least, let us offer them up in our prayers. In the words of humorist Tom Bodett as he pitches Motel 6, let all of God's children be able to look upon us with great confidence and know that "we'll leave the light on for you."

(Inspired by a homily given by Father Frank Pavone)


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