The love God shows us at Christmas
25 December 2022 Christmas Year A
What to do with Wally? Wally was an awkward and shy child at his local primary school. It was time to hand out roles for the Christmas play, but what role could the teacher give Wally? She decided on the innkeeper.
It wasn’t a key role and only required Wally to shake his head and say one line, “Sorry, we’ve no room.” Wally grinned from ear to ear when he learned of his role, and he couldn’t wait for the big night.
It arrived soon enough, and the play was proceeding according to plan. Mary and Joseph had travelled to Bethlehem and come to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked on the door and it was opened by Wally.
“Please sir, do you have a room we could take?” asked Joseph.
Wally shook his head and replied. “I’m sorry, we’ve no room.”
Now the boy playing Joseph was a confident child, and while the script called for the couple to turn away, Joseph decided to exercise some dramatic license. “But sir,” he said to the innkeeper, “My wife is about to have her baby and we need somewhere to stay. Couldn’t you find us a room.”
Wally’s face went white – this was not in the plan! He paused a moment before repeating his line. “I’m sorry, we’ve no room.”
“But sir” replied Joseph, “We have travelled a long way, we’ve nowhere else to go and my wife is very tired. Surely you can find us some space.”
Wally bowed his head, shook it sadly and said, “I’m sorry, we’ve no room.” Forlornly, Joseph and Mary started walking away. Wally felt shamed and saddened. A tear trickled down his cheek. He then called out. “Wait! Please come back. You can have my room.”
It may not have been according to script, but at that moment Wally gave perfect expression to the Christmas story. This story has no known author, but it touches the hearts of all and invites us to reach out to others to offer hospitality and not just at Christmas. Naturally, we offer hospitality to our family and friends, but are there others in the community to whom we could offer hospitality either in our home, or we could visit, pick up the phone or drop off food.
What would it mean to welcome a person or a family who are not Christian to be our guest and learn about our traditions? What would it mean to welcome a newcomer in our street or a recent migrant family? There are also those who have lost a loved one recently who might appreciate a place when their own place seems empty. We might even invite them to come with us to our parish Christmas carols and Mass.
Christmas means God is among us in the person of Jesus. Can we bring others to know the presence of the Lord through the gift of our hospitality?
Michael A Kelly CSsR
© Majellan Media 2022
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