While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
These stories we revisit each Advent ripple with the propulsive energy carrying Mary and Joseph to this long-awaited manger moment in Bethlehem. A long, difficult journey with stress, fear, pain, and setbacks culminated in this quiet, brief moment of inexpressible joy: new life, new hope. A son, wrapped snugly and laid gently in a manger, but born into a world without room for him.
I am excited about all of the seasonal celebrations of this birth of Christ we are privileged to host this year. Tonight’s concert will be magnificent; our Sunday morning Service of Lessons and Carols will be a time when many voices proclaim the hope we share which Mary laid in that manger long ago; Monday evening is a time of near-darkness shot through with the light and hope of Christ. These are beautiful moments, fresh opportunities to encounter God in their beauty.
Yet the thing that excites me most is this ramp. Rented, temporary, only here for a brief moment and yet a sure, physical sign of welcome to all God’s children. The trustees and I have talked, shared, and dreamed of a way to extend our welcome to all regardless of their individual abilities. In a world that once told Jesus there was no room and no place for him, we have the chance to extend abundant welcome and grace. Please pray with me and join in this work of removing barriers to entry for all God’s people.
Grace and Peace,