In the next few days the trains and boats and planes will be full of people who have made a special effort not to miss out. Being home for Christmas is really special. Its a time to be with family and friends. If we are fortunate enough to spend Christmas with children so much the better. Their joy, wonder and sheer excitement is infectious. We celebrate with those we love, because good relationships are among God’s greatest gifts to us and Christmas is a time to be thankful for the gift of those who love us.
However the story that lies behind our Christmas celebration is not a family party. Far from it. The story is about Mary, a vulnerable young woman away from home with nowhere to stay, and about to give birth. Joseph is with her, but he can’t provide for Mary as he would wish. Mary and Joseph find themselves at the mercy of a very busy inn keeper. The inn is fully booked. The inn keeper is run off his feet. But he listens to the young couple, and he takes the time to do what he can. He offers Mary and Joseph shelter where the animals were usually kept. The innkeeper takes time to care. The little he offers is enough for God’s greatest gift to be offered to us all.
The Christmas story tells us that God is with us no matter what our circumstances may be.
Church of Ireland, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe
Fr Tony Mullins,
Diocesan Administrator, Diocese of Limerick