Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

 

“Mary wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”   Luke 2:7

 

All doors were closed to Jesus on the morning long ago, yet Joseph and Mary found one door in a stable tucked back away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. They found only one open door for Jesus. The question for us today is whether we will find an open door in our own heart for Jesus this Christmas. Can we open our heart to the joy of Christs’ presence in word, in song, in prayer and worship and close the door to artificial light, paper, glitter, to false sense of peace and happiness through material things? Can our hearts be opened to welcome the stranger, to love the unlovable, to forgive those who have unrepentant hearts? Or do we want to let hate fester and close the door to Jesus and build walls so strong and high that Jesus will never be able to enter into our heart? We need to rethink what Christmas means in terms of today’s world of division, turmoil, hatred, and polarization. No one wins. All doors are closed. So before we even get to Christmas, let us reconnect to the meaning and purpose of Advent. Use the coming weeks to prepare the door of your heart to be open to Christ on Christmas when that holy night comes. Work now to open that door and let the Christ child find a manger in your heart. Amen

 

 

no room for you in the city, Jesus.

so many doors were tried and closed to you.

so many places did not warm you with welcome.

 

there is still a coming

there is still a Bethlehem

it is the city of my heart

with no room to give you welcome

 

it is the manger of my inner self

where your request is made

searching for an entrance

to my poor and empty dwelling

 

Advent is a time for waiting

I will wait faithfully

for slow recognition

of the closed doors in my Bethlehem

 

 

Advent is a time of yearning

I will keep on longing for you.

I will try to do so patiently

 

Advent is a time of hoping

I will seek the strong stirring sureness

That is possible to open doors

 

Advent is a time of coming

I will pray with all the church

Come, come, come, Lord, Jesus.

Welcome into my home of love.

 

And Lord, when it is time to say:

this is the Christmas day,

I will pray that you will warmly be welcome

in the Bethlehem of my heart,

giving birth in my newly opened places.*

 

*(Author: Joyce Rupp, “Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment” ©2006, Ave Maria Press, pg. 156) 

 

 

 

Happy are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

Psalm 1: 2-3