My thoughts (David Zier):
Christmas time conjures up images of families gathering together, pretty packages under a lighted tree, Nat King Cole and a winter wonderland. But for many of us, families are not together in one place, the economy is tough and buying those packages isn’t easy, Nat King Cole seems so long ago, and many think, “What so wonderful about winter?”
Just think what it was like for this couple in the midst of the census, where people were returning home to be registered and counted. Here was a man returning with his pregnant girlfriend, a woman who pledged to be his wife. And during their journey the baby was expected, yet, there was no place to stay. No room at the inn.
Isn’t it interesting that Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth, the first Christmas, reveals an unconventional family who was homeless — no cozy fireplace, no sleigh bells ringing. It was the coming of the Christ child, Emmanuel, God with us. Or can it be said, God “coming out” to us?
So, if our family isn’t so conventional, if our pretty packages are more about the love that we share, and if the images of Christmas we hold dear are more about how we care for one another and less about roasting chestnuts and winter wonderland, isn’t that more like the first Christmas? Isn’t that more about God “coming out” of us, the way God “comes out” in Jesus? Isn’t that how we “come home” in Christ? This shouldn’t be just for one day, but for every day. How can we make every day Christmas?
Wherever we are, we need to remember that Christmas is about Jesus making his home in our hearts, and warming our lives by his presence, and us allowing God to “come out” in us.
Thought for the day: How is God “coming out” of me today, during this holiday season, and tomorrow? Is Jesus making a home in my heart?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.