room for _____


This Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Advent for Christians around the world. It is the time of the year in which Christians are eagerly awaiting the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The traditions and stories of this Holy season remind us of the story of Jesus birth and the extraordinary circumstances that created such traditions. We see the manger/Nativity seen placed with care in front lawns, on our grandmas counter top, and in church buildings. If you aren’t aware of what the manger seen is, it is taken from the Gospels, specifically Luke and Matthew.

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Mary and Joseph were to report to the town of Bethlehem for the Roman census, and when they arrived, with Mary full term pregnant, they were trying to find a place to stay for the night. Well, it turns out that they were poor, and since they didn’t have the money to afford a room, in a crowded town due to the census, they found a stable, or barn to stay in outside. We don’t have the full story here, but we are left to context and assumptions. We can assume they probably did not have permission to stay in this barn, they probably just snuk in, as the birth of Jesus was imminent. We can imagine the desperation of Joseph, already dismayed from this entire situation, yet with the confidence of the angel of the Lords word to him:

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Joseph going from guest home to another, finding they had no room for charity cases, and no room for someone like him or Mary. They were young, unmarried, and Mary was pregnant out of wedlock. You can just hear all the closed doors now “ well I would help, but it just doesn’t look right, God bless you.”

Finally Joseph sees a barn in the distance, Mary is in tremendous birth pain, and he makes a decision to break in and gather some hay in a animal feeding trough(manger) and gets some bails of hay and props Mary up and she begins to push. All they had in that moment was a promise from God and each other, and well, some animals that were not paying them much attention.

After the agony of birth…came a little whimper…and then…the birth of Hope….her promised child is born, Jesus.

Mary and Joseph probably spent the rest of the night as most first time parents of newborns due, scared out of their minds they will do something wrong, up all night watching each breath, changing their baby, and Mary feeding her new lease on life, Jesus. They would figure something out in the morning, but for now, Jesus was here, and they knew that God was taking care of their needs.

The story of Jesus’s birth and his parents struggle to provide safety and do what they needed to survive, screams of contemporary references.

Not only did they face hardships to find a place to give birth, sometime after Jesus was born they had to flee to another country, since there were about to be mass killings, that would include their son….

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”

Mary and Joseph, directed by God, had to take their child to a foreign land in order to keep him safe. They were refugees. Undocumented Immigrants.

Last week, we saw how refugees from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador were treated by the Empire we call The United States of America. These migrants, escaping violence and poverty from their own countries, traveled thousands of miles, many with children, many with newborns, and many by themselves. They were seeking to enter the United States as refugees, and made it all the way to a legal port of entry. Yet instead of being met with open arms, blankets, food, shelter, medical care, they were met with tear gas and razor wire.

The Empire says, there is….

no room for Refugees

The Empire says, there is….

no room for Trans Individuals

The Empire says, there is….

no room for Black women, men, boys, or girls

The Empire says, there is….

no room for undocumented immigrants

The Empire says, there is…..

no room for the poor

The Empire says, there is…..

plenty of room for white people

The Empire says, there is…..

plenty of room for gun owners that look right

The Empire says, there is….

plenty of room for the rich and highly qualified

The Empire says, there is….

plenty of room for straight white men and women

But thankfully Empire doesn’t have the final word on who or what is important.

We have the greatest example, in the the undomesticated, nonwhite, nonAmerican….Jesus.

As I stated above, the story of Jesus parents, and the God directing their steps, should be our final say on who God is seeking, and who God is seeking us to be. God is in the margins. God didn’t chose a rich couple to bear Jesus, he chose a poor teenage girl.

Jesus was born and died a peasant.

Just from the birth of Jesus….one can see the heart of God and as we dive deeper into the Gospels, we see the continued heart of God being for the marginalized.

The Nativity shows us who God is for and God says there is plenty of…..

room for Refugees and All Immigrants

room for Trans and all LGBQ+ individuals

room for disabled individuals

room for Black women, men, boys, or girls

room for undocumented immigrants

room for the poor

room for you

room for ______

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