23rd December 2017

Church of Scotland Advent - Day 23

 

Day 23 - Innkeepers

Innkeepers – a reflection



 



Innkeepers

Christmas is rich with symbols. From the star or the angel perched on top of the tree, reminding us of the sign and herald of the new born king; to fairy lights and candles reflecting the light of the world, shining in the darkness; and the giving of gifts that point to the gift of Jesus. There are signposts to the ‘reason for the season’ everywhere – even if they often go unrecognised or unacknowledged.

This Christmas, Nativity scenes and nursery plays will once again assemble the familiar cast: Mary, Joseph and Jesus, shepherds and wise men, ox and ass and sheep, all sheltering in a simple stable.

Yet there is something –or someone– missing from this picture…

Whether the word ‘inn’ refers to a hotel with no vacancies, or (as I believe), a ‘guest room’ in a cousin’s home, which had already been bagged by another set of visitors, there was, somewhere a host.
Someone was doing the work of hospitality,
of feeding,
of making beds and putting up with the disruption to their usual routine;
giving of themselves and their resources to make others feel welcome and safe.

Jesus was born into an overcrowded, bustling, improvised community,
where, at the cost of one host’s labour, the many were taken care of, offered shelter and a welcome in a foreign place among strangers.

In another story from later in Jesus’ life, we see two sisters – Martha, who is too busy in the labour of the host to spend time with those she had welcomed in, unlike her sister Mary, who sits at the feet of Jesus.

And still this Christmas many Marthas will bustle and prepare to make others feel welcome and included, as the ‘innkeeper’ did when Jesus was born. But in their busyness, may these hosts, stressed and pressed, also find their Mary moment to sit at the feet of Jesus and know His affirmation.

In welcoming others, be they family, friend or lonely stranger, we welcome Jesus.

Invite friends and family to open our Advent calendar by sharing https://churchofscotland.adventcalendar.com


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