A Knock at the Door
As Advent begins, we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. We decorate our homes and we draw near to those we love. These external preparations are an outward sign of what the Lord desires for our hearts. It is a time of waiting, expectation, and hope; of conversion, purification, and of great joy, but also of busyness. Our external preparations can make life chaotic. This chaos can lead us to close our hearts to others.
But what if there was a knock at the door? Two strangers wait on the other side: a man and a woman, the woman is about to give birth. Would you welcome them in or do they come as a nuisance, as unexpected and possibly even unwanted guests? At one of the most decisive moments in time, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus were without a home.
Just like many of our homeless friends on the street, the Holy Family found themselves dependent upon the charity of others. Tired from the long journey, and expecting a child, it was a very trying time for them. The chronically homeless are constantly faced with challenging circumstances. When Mary and Joseph sought a place to welcome Jesus into the world, many people turned them away. Not necessarily because they were bad people, but likely because their own busyness kept them from seeing or caring about the need of these strangers at their door. Maybe they didn’t welcome them into their home because hosting a mother about to give birth would complicate their lives. Helping those in need can, in fact, disrupt our comfort; it can be messy, but great beauty lies in allowing our lives to be “complicated” by the Lord who is present in those in need.
As we begin to prepare for Christmas, may we prepare our homes and our hearts, and be attentive. The Lord may be asking us to welcome Him in unexpected ways. It may be a simple gesture. Mary and Joseph came humbly, as two people without a place to lay their heads, seeking to be taken in at this crucial moment in their lives. A stable was not ideal, but God took the little He had to work with and made it the birthplace of Jesus. He too will take the little we have to give. This Advent, may we seek that our hearts be ready for whoever may knock at our door, and ask the Lord to prepare us to be able to welcome them in.
Reflection written by Anna,
first year missionary from North Platte, NE.
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