After Jesus is born, the magi finally arrive in Bethlehem bearing their precious gifts for the Christ child. Their arrival in Bethlehem is recorded in Matthew’s Gospel as follows, “When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.” Did you catch the key word in that passage? On entering the HOUSE. Though our nativity scenes often include the magi with the shepherds at the manger, they did not actually visit Jesus in the stable. Jesus and his parents had managed to find a house to stay in by the time the magi arrived. I am glad to know that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus did not have to stay in the stable for too long. I imagine it was quite uncomfortable … not to mention smelly! An animal’s feeding trough just does not seem like the appropriate sleeping quarters for the Messiah.
Jesus’ move from stable to house makes me think of the many people in our community who are without housing. Doorways, street corners, park benches, and tents are not appropriate sleeping quarters for anyone. Especially with the cold and rainy days we have had recently, this is an incredibly difficult time for those who are experiencing homelessness. In addition to sharing your love with your friends and family this Advent season, consider how you might share your love with those who do not have a place to live. You might donate to a non-profit, join a meal team providing food at the Mill Street Shelter, volunteer at the Tuesday evening Street Chaplaincy dinner, help with the Thursday Hot Lunch … Jesus reminds us that when we care for those in need, we care for him.