No Room in New Bern

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download As part of our Christmas events, each year the children of our church participate in La Posadas, a nine day Spanish tradition and celebration of Mary’s nine months of carrying the baby Jesus. The children follow Mary and Joseph door to door, asking for room to stay for the evening. As one of the homes participating, (actually it is my office, conveniently located across the street from the church) I was ready this particular Sunday morning to respond to the homeless couple.

Mary and Joseph will ask, “Do you have room for us to stay for the night?” For those of us answering the door, our line was “I have no room”. Mary and Joseph would then walk to the next location and finally end at the church nativity scene. This simple reenactment brings the Christmas story to life for the children and adults in our church each year.

Last year, I unlocked my door and was waiting for Mary and Joseph to arrive. Before they came, another couple appeared at my door. I wasn’t open for business, but a young couple walked right in.  Expecting Mary and Joseph, I was a little confused to see this modern couple at my door.

There were no little children behind them and she was dressed not as a first century Christian, but as a modern day bride. He was wearing a tuxedo. As I looked at them, she said to me, “We just needed to come in from the cold.” As they warmed themselves inside my office, I learned they were married the day before and were waiting on the photographer to take wedding photos. I could hear God speaking to me about this young couple.

We chatted for a while as I waited for the children to arrive. The young couple, Eli and Tory shared their story, when they met, where they lived, the colors of the wedding (red, black, and white), and their honeymoon plans to Myrtle Beach. They were so wonderfully open and transparent about their lives.

As we talked and waited, Mary and Joseph arrived on time with a large entourage. I confirmed my lines, “I have no room”, turning away the crowd with Mary and Joseph. Eli and Tori commented how wonderful it was to see this Christmas story come to life.

As if on cue, the photographer came in and Eli and Tori decided to take pictures inside my office next to our Christmas tree. The photographer brought lights for added props.  The young couple wrapped themselves in Christmas lights and smiled for the camera.

They were celebrating the moment.  I realized both young couples Eli and Tori and Mary and Joseph were looking for new beginnings. What if I had turned Eli and Tori away from my door? What if I had told them, I was expecting someone else? What if I had not listened or cared?

I understand why God was speaking to me that cold winter morning. He wanted me to see, I have room for so much in my life. Room for compassion, room for new beginnings, room for God to bring people into my life when I least expect it. Our lives must remain centered around our relationship with God and with others. Just like Eli and Tori, I am wrapping myself in God’s light to experience the joy of new beginnings. God blesses us with so many gifts, this was mine.

Before I left to attend church service, I prayed with this young couple. I thanked God for their presence and reminding me what a new beginning looks like.  I asked God to watch over them and bless their union as husband and wife.

Before I walked across the street to attend church, I gave them the keys to my office. Even though I had never met them before, I asked them to lock the door when they were finished taking pictures and place the key under the mat.

After church, my keys were there and Eli and Tory were gone. They promised to send me a copy of the wedding picture in front of my tree. I look forward to seeing that picture. It will remind me of a moment when I listened and responded to God’s call. What a blessing!

Father, Awaken Our Hearts!

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