By: Maggie Leonard
Luke 2. 1-20
Reflection—v. 20, ‘for they had seen and heard’
If Jesus had been born in an inn or guesthouse, would the shepherds have been privy to his birth? There is an equalizing factor that comes from not having walls—nothing to block the view, no physical barrier, nothing to dampen the noise. When we serve lunch on the streets we are all equally exposed to wind, rain, heat, and cold. We see people who won’t or can’t come to church. We are left vulnerable to those who are angry with us. But we all need to eat. Perhaps it was the story of his homeless birth, where Mary and Joseph made their cat-hole in an outlying building (a ‘cat-hole’ is a sleep spot on the streets, frequently in abandoned, un-lockable structures), surrounded by society’s despised, that kept Jesus’ heart open to the poor. The shepherds who lived outdoors, outside of town, filthy folks that they were, who first saw, heard, and praised God. They are the ones who interrupted their day to peer into an outlying structure and see ‘with us is God.’ We all need a savior; outside is where he first appeared.
Prayer God who sees and hears all, may we not hide behind our walls. Give us the courage to be vulnerable and hospitable, just like your family.