There was no room at the inn for Jesus. And now that the categories of ‘vaccinated’ and ‘unvaccinated’ have been adopted in Australian society, there will be no room at the Christmas table for many this year. Be challenged by this confronting word to both the rejectors and the rejected.
As the Christmas story famously begins in Luke 2:1, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.” Every citizen was required to return to the place of their birth.
So Joseph and his wife Mary travelled up from the Galilean town of Nazareth. They journeyed together, Mary heavily pregnant, arriving in Judea. Their destination was Bethlehem, also known as “the town of David”, as Joseph was of the house and family of David.
While they were there, Mary went into labour. But because of the number of travellers for the census, there was no room at the local inn. Moreover, no one showed compassion for the young woman giving birth and relinquished their lodging.
However, the innkeeper took pity upon them. He offered them the stable where animals were kept, and they gladly accepted.
So Mary gave birth to a son, her firstborn, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger – the animals’ feeding trough.
Still today, we feel for Mary and Joseph in their predicament. We empathise and sing songs of our Saviour’s birth. Our mind’s eye can easily envision the proceedings. A blessed baby, destined to save the world. Such humble beginnings for God-in-flesh, the Messiah.
Oh, how the angels sang! The star shone in the sky above, the shepherds gathered around to worship. All of heaven rejoiced.
Reflecting on a Difficult Year
Fast-forward to early December 2021. What a year or two it has been.
Last year, many of us were denied travel to see our loved ones. As many have observed, Australia has returned to its roots as a penal colony, and the situation has hurt and outraged many of us.
We have shed tears and grieved the loss of lives – from the virus and other causes too. Many still haven’t hugged their babies or grandchildren. Others were forbidden to weep with their beloved parent or sibling at their passing.
“It’s all for our own good” is the mantra we have repeated. Many of us chose to believe this. Some still do.
It breaks my heart – and must certainly break God’s heart – to see the division across our country. “Come let us reason together” has been sacrificed on the altar of politics, drowned out by bureaucrats and media messaging. We don’t have a right to an opinion unless it’s the correct one.
In every age, a lack of compassion is a genuine fault in human nature. That’s why we must hold on to grace and mercy. Love covers a multitude of sins.
No Room at the Christmas Table
In 2021, with the introduction to Australian society of vaccination status – the new apartheid – even Christmas lunch has become a battlefield.
Some are fortunate enough to live in the same state as their loved ones. For others, the new rules mean that Christmas hopes and plans have been dashed. There is no room at the Christmas table for you.
If you change your mind and “do the right thing”, you might be squeezed in. Will you sell your proverbial inheritance for a bowl of turkey and prawn salad?
If you are vaccinated and refuse to host loved ones who are not, what is your reasoning for this lack of hospitality? Surely it is not “the science”? Your vaccine should protect you. According to multiple studies, your loved one’s lack of vaccine doesn’t make them much more likely to contract or spread the virus.
How would you feel if you insisted that your family member or friend took an injection for you and then paid the price with one of the many known adverse effects? I have one aunt, who I love dearly, who has given me that ultimatum. It is a price I am not willing to pay for a day of roast chicken and a glass of ale.
Such rejection is like a knife to the heart. It tears the fabric of love. These wounds are hard to heal. Such unnecessary division is an axe-blow wielded by the enemy of love; it cleaves and destroys. God have mercy upon our frail humanity.
Family Divisions – And a Godly Response
My family was rent asunder decades ago. My father’s death opened many wounds that have never been addressed. Jesus has set me free to go on without the family support I longed for.
My husband lost his mother, father and brother by the age of 21. We were broken children who, through God’s grace and mercy, had our lives rebuilt upon the Rock of Christ. We have three sons, and they wouldn’t know their first cousins if they stood up in their porridge! It is a sad situation – one perhaps familiar in your family.
But let us assert some truths in the midst of this heart-breaking division:
There is always room in God’s inn
His grace is sufficient for us
God forgives us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
His mercy triumphs over judgement
We can leave our burdens at the foot of the cross
The Lord will never leave or forsake us
He will never, ever reject us
Jesus ate with sinners, cured lepers, delivered the possessed, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, and died for us – the worst of sinners
Friends, it is not too late! Open your hearts and love as we should. Guilt is a huge burden to carry; don’t cast it on those you love.
If there is no change in circumstances – if love and reconciliation is impossible – be free in Jesus’ name. Know that your Father in heaven understands. Jesus was rejected and still is by so many. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and our ever-present help in time of need.
I believe that as the world becomes darker, we will shine brighter. Some who reject you this season will be the very ones asking for forgiveness and help; we won’t deny them. There will be no gloating. Instead, thankfulness and love will wash away the pain.
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