The church over the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem has an unusual entrance for the last several hundred years. It was a large double door entrance but centuries ago to keep the men on their horsebacks out of the church the entrance was made smaller and anyone over five and a half feet must duck to enter. I am not sure why they have not reversed this but perhaps it is to remind us that to understand these mysteries we celebrate these days; we have to be small and humble.
The words of the gospel stand out to me this year: a Savior is born for us today, not tomorrow but today!! It raises the question of what are we living for today? Are we concerned if we have work or don’t have work, if we have Omicron and we don’t, if my spouse loves me or not, if the kids are the way you want them or not, etc.? What are you living for today? Perhaps you see you can’t love your life the way it is today! So, the Lord comes on this holy night to unite us. He doesn’t come with any demands. He comes only to love us. He comes only to say I love you; I love you especially if you are weak and unable to love yourself or the others. He comes to say, I want to be born in you these days. I did not come for the good ones, just the opposite. I came for the ones who need me. God is not like some parents who oblige kids to be good in order to get their presents; if you are not good, then just a few mediocre presents. God doesn’t do that. He loves you even if you have behaved badly. He came especially for you!
I would like to make two points about the gospel. One is that there is an enrollment of all the people in their homes. They must go to their hometown to register for this census. What is your house? I am not asking for the address. Where should a Christian live or where is her home? It is in heaven, no? My house here is something very temporary, and my real home is in heaven. So how can I register there? Heaven is a place to love, to forgive, a place where we can understand the other. But I have a deep fear in me or an anger or a hatred towards myself or someone, or I have this mountain of bills to pay. How can I get to heaven to enroll myself and my family? What will God do if he sees that I cannot make it? He will come and get you. He will take you to himself by means of this child. In this night God is showing us what is humility. In this night he reminds us that he was born in the worst place, and his family is totally at peace. He shows us that humility is to be joyful, to be happy, to have a real life, to be in heaven. God sees that you cannot enroll yourself, so he enrolls himself in you and in me. Christ enrolls himself in his house, which is you. Maybe it is a big mess, dirty, but he comes there.
The other point that helps me is that Christ did not want to be born in a palace or a five-star hotel. There is no room for him. He wanted to be born in a manger. He invites us to recognize our manger, that dirty place. What is your manger tonight? If you don’t recognize your manger, he is not able to be born because there is no room for him. You don’t need him. But if your life is a mess, he can be born in you. If your manger is a disgusting place, hidden from all the world, that no one knows, he can be born there. He will be the only one who will love you there!! In that place Christ wants to be born. He didn’t come for the holy ones, the good ones; he came for you. This is something unbelievable that he loves us in that place. We love badly, only conditionally, so we need that Christ be born in us.
He was born to be a savior; he is the only one who can save us. He has this power to make us happy, to transform us. I want to leave you with this certainty: Christ loves you as you are; he makes not demands, no conditions on his love. And he wants to be born in your reality, as it is today.