Julie Kae Sigars
Isaiah 52:7-10 • Psalm 98 • Hebrews 1:1-12 • John 1:1-14
No one is alone.
In the beginning was the Word
and the WORD was WITH God.
This WORD became flesh and LIVED AMONG US.
No one is alone. Not even Joseph, and Mary, and the infant Jesus.
When I think of the birth of Jesus, I think of Joseph and Mary—going to a strange place---traveling from inn to inn…looking for a place to stay…alone. rejected.
Yet, when I read the story in Luke, in the CEB translation…. we hear: While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Guestroom. Yes. It seems that all along, there might not have been an INN like we think of it. A motel.
Matthew has nothing about the actual birth besides: Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the rule of King Herod. And then we hear the magi story. No lonely Joseph and Mary going place to place to find room to give birth.
Somehow, I think this appeals to us, the idea of Joseph and Mary being rejected. I recall many a Christmas pageant, where there were lots of innkeepers. All saying no, until the last one. It did give each of the children a part in the play. But in the story, the first one person who answered the door said YES. Of course. But there isn’t room in the normal place you would stay. The guestroom or the upper room. Why? All those other relatives, second and third cousins, folks you might not know, who also arrived for the census, they are already here. But in naming your own heritage, “I am Joseph, son of Jacob, song of Matthan,” which we hear in the very beginning of Matthew…and This is Mary my wife. About to give birth” Of course! Jacob, son of Matthan …you would have a place to stay. No room in the guestroom, the upper room, it is packed, but here, stay here in the great room, the living room, where we bring the animals in at night…you can come here.
That’s why there was a manger. Not out in a barn. But we bring the animals in to the house. To keep them safe and warm. And Jesus, the bread of life, Word made flesh, was laid, snugly wrapped in a manger, a place for food, for animals.
Jesus was born in the midst of lots of people. Which was probably a blessing for Mary and Joseph. Women there to help with the birth and to provide wisdom and food for them.
Joseph, having had this amazing dream about Mary and her child, was given a place with his family, because that is what the people did. You are my great uncles grandson?
Of course you are! Come in! Sorry it is so crowded. We will make due. Speaking of due, my goodness! Wife! Daughters! Aunts! Come and help this young mother to be!
Just imagine. All those people. All that ….flesh.
The WORD became flesh. That WORD that was there in the very beginning, That WORD became flesh.
Stop and feel your hands. Flesh. Feel your face. Flesh.
Touching your loved ones faces and hands…The WORD became FLESH. Soft and smooth like a baby’s skin. Wrinkled, dry, and droppy like many of us. But flesh all the same.
Became a part of you and me. What we are as human beings.
Into our messy lives. Didn’t stay in the best room. Stayed where there WAS room.
And this WORD, THIS FLESH, that lived among us. was the light for the world. That enlightens everyone.
No one is alone. Jesus Christ, born in a manger, but a manger surrounded by other flesh. God came to be with us, in the midst of all of us.
The mystery and the mess.
Thanks be to God.
St. Andrew Sermons