We all know that more than a million people escaped war and torture this year; they are refugees. (Please don’t tune me out just yet! Stay with me…) We are all also aware of some folks espousing the shutting down of our borders because people are fleeing war and violence. We witness attacks of varying degrees of violence, from bombing shelters and mosques to motorcycle suicide raids in Afghanistan to vulgar and violent degrading words of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and much more.
All of us call ourselves humans. Many of us call ourselves Christian. And, because we call ourselves Christian, we celebrate Christmas. But, what does Christmas really mean?
We know it’s about new life, about a particular birth that forever changed the history of humanity. Yet, how easy it is for some of us to forget that the birth of Jesus occurred in a stable because there was no room “in the inn.” Joseph and Mary were seeking REFUGE and found it among the animals in a stable. Later on, this holy family would be REFUGEES themselves, hiding and fleeing the ruling party who feared Jesus, and so ordered the death of all young male babies.
I invite each of us to step back from all the haste and hustle and bustle of this Christmas Season to reflect on whether we really do believe in Christmas! Because if we really do, then we must live as if our lives reflected Christmas in what we say and what we do. I’m not implying that the hustle and bustle is not life-giving and joyful, but, somehow, Christmas has to take root in us on a deeper level, as well.
Mary, a woman, a mother of the first century, lived on the margins. So, too, do many mothers today. Mary is one of the many ‘Marys’ of our world, all the women and children of our world who suffer from war and violence, who suffer from abuse and poverty, all these women and children live on the margins of our so-called “civilized world” today. My heart wrestles with the question of why so many still live on the margins while so few live in relative peace and hope and harmony.
Is there still no room in the inn?
When will justice be birthed out of the life of Jesus? What will be the piece of the Christmas story, the Christmas message, that will be etched on our own hearts this Christmas?
Anthony Padavano reminds us, “Nothing worthwhile in life is sudden. We wait for birth. We wait for love. We wait for life- to reveal its meaning, year by year, experience by experience. Waiting is the law of life, the measure of love.” And so it is. Jesus waits for us to live life by a measure of love. Jesus waits for us to make room in the inn of our world, in the inn of our hearts.
I’m certain that the birth of Jesus came with a scream of anguish by his mother, Mary. Somehow, I believe it is Jesus who now screams with anguish, with pain, as he watches a world that still hasn’t figured out a way to make room in the inn.
From the margins of Bethlehem to the war torn regions of our world, to our own living rooms, we are called to make room in the inn! We are called to be living witnesses to the Jesus we say we believe in. We are called to celebrate a season of HOPE and BIRTH and JOY and PEACE. We are called to celebrate a God, a baby, who became vulnerable for us, so that we might bear love to the world. Yes, we are called to make room in the inn.
I invite all of us to truly celebrate the gift of Christmas and to “birth” Jesus again in our hearts. Christmas calls and invites us to make room in the inn. Two-thousand years later, as we sit on the cusp of another new year, isn’t it about time to make room? May each and every one of us, as well as all those who don’t have the comforts we do, celebrate the gift of new life and a HOPE renewed from the blessings of Christmas.
Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas and a HOPE filled new year!
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This post was written by Dominican Sister of Hope Debbie Blow, OP. As the Executive Director of the North Country Mission of Hope, a spiritually-based humanitarian organization committed to fostering hope and empowering relationships with the people of Nicaragua, Sister Debbie has led sixty-one trips to Nicaragua over the past seventeen years. Learn more about Sister Debbie’s ministry on our site.