When I put together the manger scene in our house, it has the usual cast of characters: Shepherds, Wise Men, sheep, cows, donkeys, a dog and of course, Mary Joseph and the baby Jesus (who we argue about the time he gets to go into the manger).
But our gospel today tells us that the Shepherds went in haste to find Mary and Joseph and the child in the manger. It was there that they let everyone know the message that the angels gave them.
“All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the Shepherds.”
It occurred to me that perhaps the stable was already inhabited by other people. After all, I’m sure there was no room in the inn for plenty of other people who were in town for the census.
My friend and colleague, Fr Jack Ledwon, reminded us recently, that “when God comes to us, He never comes alone. He always brings someone with him.” Here in this scene he brings shepherds and animals but who knows who else?
We too, are a manger. Housing God in our hearts. Opening the doors to suggest to us that we need to let more than God into our hearts. Each time we let God into our hearts we might just find that God calls us to open the door to our hearts just a bit wider to let someone else inside as well.
Who in your life is knocking on those doors this day, this first day of the year? Might we start the year out by letting someone that we often choose to keep out into our lives more readily? Is there someone who has hurt us that we now have shielded ourselves from in an unforgiving fortress? Does someone make us uncomfortable and we react by pushing them out? Are there lonely people, neglected, that are all too easy for us to ignore and not care to be be bothered.
This day, God calls each of us to be blessed by the presence of another. And each time we do, we find that we are blessed by God as well–who opens our hearts to help us find that we have a greater capacity to love than we think we do.