Christmas Eve meditation: It Happened Anyway … In the Face of Closed Doors and “No Room”

Text used – Luke 2:1-20

And [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son
and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7

 

“Can you spare a room?”

No.

“My wife and I just got into town.
Can you spare a room?”

No.

“My wife is pregnant,
and we’ve been traveling for days.
Can you spare a room?”

No.

“We’re here for the census.
We’ll be gone before you know it.
We just need a place to stay
for a couple of days.
Can you spare a room?”

No.
No.
No.

Doors closed –

            some gently,

                        reluctantly,

                        compassionately,

                        sympathetically …

                                    but still closed;

Doors closed –

            some quickly,

                        forcefully,

                        suspiciously,

                        uncaringly …

                                    for we are strangers here,

                                    and we don’t belong.

 

But God came anyway –

full of grace and truth,

            full of promise and potential

                        and all the uncertainty

                        and all the hazards

                        and all the chaos

                        and all the mess

                        and all the blunders

                        and all the blessedness potential can possibly bring …

God came anyway –

full of grace and truth,

            full of the discordantly sweet sound

                        of a laboring mother

                                    crying out in pain and boundless love,

                                    crying out in hurt and hope,

                                    crying out in surrender and sacredness,

                                    bringing life …

            full of the discordantly sweet sound

                        of a squalling baby

                                    new lungs

                                    new breath

                                    new cry

                                    new born.

God came anyway.

 

And here we are now,

            centuries upon centuries,

            miles upon miles,

            civilizations upon civilizations

            away from that day,

                                  that place,

                                  those “no”s,

                                  those doors,

And still, God comes anyway

            knocking,

            asking,

            seeking,

            hoping

                        to find an open space,

                                      an open home,

                                      an open heart,

                                      an open life …

 

How often do we fling wide the door

and let God in?

 

So full of “no” in our parenting and “no” in our politics …

So full of “no” in our finances and “no” in our fears …

So full of “no” in our doubts and “no” in our diets …

So full of “no” in our newscasts and “no” in our neighborhoods …

So full of “no”

            at every step,

            at every turn,

            at every possibility,

            at every street corner,

            at every border,

            at every desperate cry for help.

So

full

of

“no.”

 

“Can you spare a room?” Joseph begged.

            No.

“Can you spare a room?” Jesus asks.

            No?

 

But God come anyway –

full of grace and truth,

            full of promise and potential

                        and all the faith

                        and all the hope

                        and all the reassurance

                        and all the courageousness

                        and all the grace

                        and all the blessedness potential can possibly bring …

 

God comes

            into the places in our countries and cities

                        where doors close in the faces

                                    of those in need of hope,

                                    of those in need of healing,

                                    of those in need of recovery,

                                    of those in need of a warm bed

                                                                 and a hot meal

                                                                 and a safe space …

            into the places in our neighborhoods and our homes

                        where doors close in the faces

                                    of hurt feelings,

                                    of angry words,

                                    of inflated misunderstandings,

                                    of past wounds that have gone untouched

                                                                                         and untended

                                                                                         and unhealed for far too long …

            into the places in our lives and our hearts

                        where doors close

                                    out of fear,

                                    out of distrust,

                                    out of anger,

                                    out of self-doubt that has led to anxiety

                                                                                          and depression

                                                                                           and self-loathing for far too long …

 

We can try to close the doors –

            the doors to our homes,

            the doors to our cities,

            the doors to our countries,

            the doors to our hearts,

                        but God comes anyway.

We can try to whisper our “no”s

            in the farthest, deepest corners of our hearts.

We can try to shout our “no”s

            from every rooftop and treetop,

            every billboard and pop-up,

            every frustrated retort and impatient comeback,

            every wordless wail and stifled sob,

                        but God comes anyway.

God comes,

            not forcefully,

                        storming down doors

                        and talking over our “no”s,

            but tenderly,

                    lovingly,

                    hopefully,

            as a child who just wants to be held

                                                                 and kept

                                                                 and treasured.

God comes,

            not impatiently,

                        waiting only moments

                        before storming off again,

            but steadily,

                    enduringly,

                    hopefully,

            as a child who just wants to be held

                                                                 and seen

                                                                 and adored.

God comes,

            not because God has to,

                        not because God needs us

                        to keep the universe spinning,

            but because we need God –

                        deeply,

                        fiercely,

                        unendingly,

            as a child needs someone to hold them

                                                           and watch over them

                                                            and love them unconditionally.

 

And so God came.

And so God comes.

            Every minute.

            Every day.

            Every heartbeat.

            Every need.

God comes anyway.

Alleluia.

And amen.

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