Christmas Letter 2022
From the moment of his birth Jesus experienced exclusion. When his parents arrived in Bethlehem they could not find anywhere to stay so they were forced to depend on the generosity of those who saw they were in need and offered them help. In all kinds of ways they were all told ‘there is no room for you’ but when Jesus arrives the message is broadcast that God makes room for everyone.
This Christmas, as part of the Methodist Church we are being encouraged to try to demonstrate our open, welcoming and inclusive character by saying to all people, ‘there is room for you’.
As part of the Christmas story we know that it is likely that Jesus first shared a room with animals resting for the night – we know there is room for all creation. Shepherds who lived on the fields were some of the first visitors – we know there is room for those on the margins. Mary and Joseph welcomed the Magi who had journeyed a great distance to find Jesus – there is room for difference. Mary and Joseph had to take Jesus and hurry into exile to Egypt under threat of terrible violence – there is room for those seeking sanctuary. In this story we witness just how God makes room for us all.
Later in his ministry, Jesus shows how welcome can be done. In most of his work he went out into public places, where ordinary people gathered, to preach and to heal. He accepted invitations to go to parties where he met people in the places where they felt comfortable. It was in those places that he listened to them, challenged them and met them at their deepest point of need. He opened channels for God’s all-embracing love to flow into people’s lives.
In our Messy Churches, our Nativities and our Carol Services we have an opportunity to show that ‘there is room’ by the hospitality we offer to others. People may also come to our churches to find warm spaces and sanctuary. In these encounters we can try to offer the inclusive welcome that Jesus gave.
Yet the real work of Christmas gets done when we take the risk of following Jesus out of the places where we feel comfortable to spaces where we can share in the vulnerability of others and receive their insights and hospitality. It is here that God’s grace can become real for us all and lives are transformed.
In the words of Christina Rossetti,
Love shall be our token, love be yours and love be mine,
love to God and all the world, love for plea and gift and sign. (StF 210)
May we know that God has room for each one of us this Christmas.
For more information and resources about “There is room” follow this link: https://www.methodist.org.uk/there-is-room/