There was no room in the Inn. Jesus was born into what had to be a vermin-infested den for animals. We can paint whatever images of shelterlessness we want and they will be true of Jesus birth. And only friends who have been truly shelterless, not for a day or week, but for a season can understand the harshness of the reality for Jesus without shelter.
Yet Jesus was not born homeless. His mom and earthly dad stood by him. His immediate heavenly family, God in heaven and the Holy Spirit, made sure extended family were there to welcome him. Angels announced his birth and lit the skies. Did the angels who sang “Gloria” hover over the stable? I wonder, did Jesus the Baby feel his family’s love as he lay in that hovel.
I think the distinction is important. Shelterlessness is bad but to be outside the love and support of family, even our earthly somewhat dysfunctional families, is worse. Maybe it is THE worst. For all who have family, even the “messed-up” variety, let us be grateful this Christmas. We have been given an amazing gift.
Jesus’ birth was not about homelessness. His death, however – now that was all about homelessness. He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Even as his mother and friends stood by and watched, Jesus died alone and outside the comfort of his heavenly family. In the worst moment of his earthly existence, Jesus is truly homeless. He is on his own. How appropriate.
At Christmas, I have shelter. May I remember, in tangible ways all who are houseless. At Christmas, I have home. May I remember, in tangible ways, all who are “family-less” – that is to say, all who do not belong and are without home. We can sing with the angels, rejoice with wise men and still stand beside the shelterless and homeless of the earth
– Rick Tobias