12 Days of Christmas Reflection Series – Day 4
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
Yesterday we were reflecting on the journey of pregnant Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register in the first census. It was a very difficult journey not only because of the 90 miles or 145 kilometers hike but also because of the dangers along the way.
As we continue, we will reflect on the fact that there was no room left in the inns or guest houses.
It is understandable that many people must be in Bethlehem on that day they arrived to register for the census. The situation of pregnant Mary has caused them so much delay to arrive and there is no room left for them. It could be that they were finding for a guest house that is less costly or cheap considering their economic status and such accommodation must be already fully booked.
That night Mary and Joseph settled down on the hay in a stable with animals sleeping. Mary went into labor and Jesus was born in the stable. The only place for the sleeping baby to rest was in the animals’ trough, known as the manger. What a very lowly and humble birth for a born savior.
The birth of Jesus has then become a very big festivity. Everybody is trying to find a way to happily celebrate Christmas. Aside from churchgoing for those religious ones, the gifts, food, vacations, and parties usually form and define the Christmas celebration. Government funds are spent on extravagant decorations of Christmas trees and lights just to make the people feel the joy of the season. The mayor of Pasig City in Manila is being criticized for not putting up huge and expensive decorations in the city.
While there is really a good reason for big festivities on the savior’s birthday it should not in any way make us forget the truth of His humble birth because there was no more room for them in the inns. That there was no place for the savior’s parents that night that is why he was born in animals stable.
While we are celebrating, we must also turn our attention to those people who like Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ situation not only for a night or two but for years in a very difficult situation of homelessness. They are the landless and homeless poor in the rural villages and in the cities living in the slum areas, under the bridge, and in the streets. Their hardships and miseries are even worse than that of the holy family on the night of Jesus’ birth.
While it is noble and worthy of praise to give them food, money, etc. as gifts every Christmas, it should not end there. We should ask why the majority of the people in our society ended up in this miserable economic situation especially in poor countries. Why is it that most of the wealth of the world is in the hands of the few? Why is it that no matter how the poor work hard he remains poor? Is there no problem in the system of the world we live in?
Don’t we need a change of the rule so that there will be a room available for every Mary, and Joseph, and Jesus in our time?
A meaningful Christmas everyone!
Hamburg, 28th December 2021, the Fourth day of Christmas