For many, Christmas is a time of tension amidst family members who don’t see each other often. In fact, this “tradition” begins with Mary and Joseph.
I’ve always found the notion of Joseph frantically failing to find a place in a Jewish community for his travailing wife flying in the face of common decency. It’s highly unlikely that there would be no room in the community for a wife in labor. In fact, it’s highly unlikely Joseph would have so mis-timed his journey so that they’d arrive in the nick of time.
Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth doesn’t declare any of these things.
Joseph and Mary were staying with family, in accordance with the order to return to the family city-of-origin. (The word commonly translated as “inn” (in “no room at the inn”) means “guest room.”)
Why wouldn’t Joseph’s family let Mary into the guest room?
The family rejected this unwed pregnant woman, relegating her to the level of the animals.
Jesus’ birth was one of shame and rejection by his own family… a prophetic picture of his death…
This Christmas, if you experience familial tension and stress, remember how Joseph must have felt; remember Mary’s rejection, and a baby born in shame. And then, recall the shepherds’ unexpected arrival and worship, and how they reset the focus on Jesus, the Son of God