And [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
[Luke 2:7 NRSV]
The story of Christmas tells the most amazing story: That God broke into human history in the form of a tiny, helpless baby.
This baby, lying forgotten in an exposed stable, amid extreme poverty and the contempt and indifference of mankind. This child, resting in a feeding-trough for animals, is God’s appointed “sign” to us all.
There were no halos, contrary to the image on Christmas cards, no angels visible, and no choirs singing. If you had been there, and if you had no other information, you would have concluded that this was just a baby born to a poor young couple down on their luck. Nothing about the outward circumstances pointed to God.
This is surely a strange way for a Savior to enter the world. Even the poorest child would not be found in a manger, but there he was, God’s appointed “sign” from heaven.
The Christmas story, however, teaches us about more than just an event that happened centuries ago. It teaches us about opening ourselves up to what God is trying to do in us in this world. It is about welcoming the stranger. And it’s about telling God that, even if we don’t know what it means yet, there is room for God in our lives, and we want to be part of what God is doing.
May God’s spirit inspire you to make room for Jesus this Christmas. Let this season be the time you take the “No Vacancy” sign down from your heart and warmly reach out to those who are lost, lonely, rejected or forgotten.
Christ the Lord is born for you!
+Bishop Abraham Allende