Journey to Christmas (Day 11)
Missing the big one
Today, we continue exploring Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph couldn’t find lodgings, so Jesus was born in a place where animals were kept. The people who could have taken this couple into their homes missed the biggest opportunity of their lives.
Couldn’t someone less deserving have given up their bedroom for Mary and Joseph for a night? In later years, when Jesus’ fame began to spread, did anyone in Bethlehem regret their decision? They could so easily have been a hero in this story, but because of the census and maybe because they felt stressed or busy, they missed out.
I ask You, Lord, to help me to be sacrificially and imaginatively hospitable this Christmas, not just in my home but in my heart and my busy schedule. As I think now about the people I’ll be spending Christmas with, help me to receive unexpected pressures as opportunities to host You, to go the extra mile, to be kind.
Pause and pray
I ask You, Father, to bless those who feel unwelcome in our society this Christmas: refugees, those who are homeless, and those who are in prison. Give grace and joy to those who are ministering to them and move by Your Spirit to show them that the nativity story belongs to them too. Show me if there are particular people for whom You want me to pray now.
Pause and pray
I wonder how Joseph felt. How terrible to have your wife give birth in a barn! In not finding somewhere safe and warm for Mary, I wonder if he felt like he’d failed to be a good husband and maybe even failed God, who had charged him with the mighty responsibility of raising this child.
Lord, I yield my sense of inadequacy and failure to Your bigger, more beautiful plan. Please make ‘all things work together for good’ this Christmas – in me and, if necessary, in spite of me. (Romans 8:28)