“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.” -G. K. Chesterton
Christmas is now just around the corner! Colourful lights deck the roofs of suburban houses, the pine trees are up and sagging from the weight of ornaments collected over the years, and malls blast pop Christmas tunes as last-minute shoppers stress over gift choices and rapidly-emptying wallets. And, somewhere off in the distance, too far away for our distracted world to hear… donkey’s hooves scrape over ancient sand.
A tired carpenter travels with his weary, pregnant wife to an unremarkable town. Perhaps they were traveling with a larger group – more sore travelers, accustomed to the oppression of their Roman conquerors, but still harbouring, in the darkest corner of their heavy hearts, a hope of liberation, of redemption. Or perhaps they traveled alone – vulnerable to attack, exposed to the elements, anxiously pressing on to the town as the woman could go into labour at a moment’s notice.
The day is drawing near.
Into the heart of a suffering, disillusioned world, Love Himself slips in under the radar. He will come, hidden in poverty, rejection, and the straw of the manger. No blazing yule log or decorated tree will be there to greet Him. No turkey feast or warm drinks will be served to the family of the King of Kings. There will be no fluffy Christmas throw handy with which to bundle Him up as He comes into the world.
And that is Whom we’re waiting for.
In spite of all our feasts and festivities, we await One who will be born. In spite of any family politics or debates on how to do Christmas “the right way,” we await a family that, in our eyes, had certainly done Christmas “the wrong way.” No, they weren’t home for Christmas. No, they couldn’t book ahead. No, they didn’t have a grand family Christmas meal.
But in spite of all that, they bring the only Christmas Gift worth having.
It is Self-Giving Love Himself, come to be born as one of us, in our sorrow, suffering, and littleness – so that we can be born into the fullness of the life He comes to win for us.
A very Blessed Christmas to you all.
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Editor’s Note: Christ was not actually homeless but born into poverty. St. Joseph and our Heavenly Father provided for the Holy Family. However, the term “homeless” is used to describe the fact that the Holy Family had no place to go but in a cave/ barn where Our Lord was born while they were in Bethlehem for the census.