Come on in! There’s plenty of room inside!
This week's reflection is written by
Very Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS.
During the four weeks before Christmas, many churches put on Christmas pageants in which the story of the birth of Jesus is acted out, usually by young children. One of my favorite Christmas stories is about one of those Christmas pageants. It took place in a small Church in a little village somewhere in New England. You may have heard it too.
Little Johnny wanted very much to be in the pageant. He dreamed of being one of the shepherds or maybe even one of the Wise men. Maybe he could even play the special part of Joseph. He went to the Director of the play and asked for a part in the pageant. The Director told him that there was only one part left. It was the part of the Inn Keeper. And his only line went like this: “There is no room in the Inn.”
Johnny was very disappointed and begged for another part. “I don’t want to be the Inn Keeper,” he pleaded. “He’s the one who sends Mary and Joseph away!” The Director said that he was sorry, but that was the only part left. So, reluctantly, Johnny agreed to play the role of the Inn Keeper.
Finally, the day of the pageant arrives and everybody is very excited. At the appropriate moment in the play, Mary and Joseph approach the Inn. They knock on the door of the Inn, hoping to find a place to rest, as Mary is almost ready to give birth. They knock and wait.
Dressed as the Inn Keeper, Johnny finally opens the door, listens to their request, hesitates for a moment and then, with a big broad smile on his face and in a loud voice cries out, “Come on in! There’s plenty of room inside!”
Not surprisingly, that line brought the pageant to an abrupt end! But, you know, the line that Johnny spoke, though maybe not so good for the play, is a great line for the Christmas Season. When Jesus comes at Christmas, welcome him, Mary and Joseph with those same words: “Come on in! There’s plenty of room inside!” In fact, let those words find an echo in every aspect of your life: with family and loved ones; with friends and colleagues; and even strangers and the poor: “Come on in! There’s plenty of room inside!” Let those words find an echo is the compassionate, kind and welcoming manner in which you treat all those you encounter along life’s journey.
Surely the spirit of those words represents the true spirit of Christmas, a spirit meant to permeate all the days of the years ahead, beginning with this New Year of 2019.
If we do that, then one day when the gates of heaven are thrown open to greet us, we will have the great joy of hearing those very same words spoken to each and every one of us by a smiling and welcoming Jesus: “Come on in! There’s plenty of room inside!”