A few years ago I saw this image and every year it makes the rounds. Here is a link to the blog where I found it and where you can see it full sized. Usually it makes me unspeakably sad, but this year it has worked on me differently. It almost gives be hope because it evokes for me one of the central tenets of our Christian faith: choice.
It was a choice made by bureaucrats that uprooted Jesus’ family sending them to Bethlehem and Egypt. It was a choice that made no room in the inn. The innkeeper could have realized that a woman about to give birth was more important than one angry customer. It was a choice that murdered the children when Herod decided his throne was more important than human life.
We are also presented with choices every day. The choices we are make may not seem as grand as giving the Messiah a room in which to be born but they can make room for the Messiah to be born in us and our world. When we make the choices which pattern our lives after Jesus, to “bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,” (Isaiah 61.1-2) we become like Jesus, bringing the reign of God into the world, proclaiming the Good News of a different and better world. We proclaim a light in dark times.
This Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, remember José and Maria. Remember the choices God has given you. Give thanks that we can bring heaven to earth by our choices. Be hopeful, proclaim the Good News of God in Christ, and let the new light of Christ’s reign shine through you, me and all of our sisters and brothers all the days of our life.