I am bringing you good news…to you is born this day…this will be a sign for you. This pronouncement is good news
To bring you good news, to you born this day. Jesus’ birth, and the proclamation of this significance, in the midst of all going in our lives…what does it mean to receive this gift in our own lives?
In our journeys—going to our families, our families visiting us—may we make room—As it was time—far away from home, Mary sought shelter. Along with many others who traveled for the census—having traveled myself with someone with child—it is not as efficient. There are more stops along the way. And as they rode in to Bethlehem—coming home, the need to find shelter was great, but there was no room. For Mary and Joseph, it didn’t go as planned. I can imagine the conversation, ‘Joseph, didn’t you call ahead?’
Yet God’s plans are different than I am sure Mary and Joseph’s. God’s plans are different than the plans of a census by Emperor Augustus. God’s plans are different than those of a shepherd tending to flocks. That in the journey, the inconveniences, that in our families, God enters. That when all of our best intentions, when we check trip-advisor and read the reviews to find that the only place available is suitable for livestock.
And this is the perfection of God entering. That by appearing to shepherds, God enters bringing an invitation to the most unlikely. By the inn-keeper making room in a stable, there is shelter in all of our mess. That by God entering differently than how we would right the play, God enters triumphantly bringing light in the darkness. I imagine the shepherds exhausted, working hard, and in the mundane the angels show up terrifying them. And God says, do not be afraid. God interrupts—bringing light. God interrupts bringing new life, bringing good news, and rather than taking the finest spaces at the table, helps remind us to make room for everyone.
In our lives, our work, our relationships, our families, our times alone, God enters proclaiming do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy.” And in a manger, a bed of straw, in the gift of a baby child, God enters bringing the great gift of new birth and the miracle of life.
And he appears, and the soul felt its worth.