We All Come Home for Christmas

Article excerpt

Later this month I will celebrate first Christmas in Toronto in 20 years. As I look forward to the wonderful occasion of our Lord's birth there is strange sense of nostalgia, for I have come home for Christmas. In a very real way I think that all of us come home for Christmas--if not physically then certainly spiritually. On Christmas Eve our churches will be full as people come in from the darkness to encounter the light. They come not simply because of family history or tradition but to search for that sense of home that a Christian community can provide. On that first Christmas the Holy Family also had to search.

The searching can be frustrating and painful. As Mary and Joseph tried to locate a place for Jesus to be born they came face to face with a harsh "no" from many. Perhaps the innkeeper was busy attending to the pilgrims, or the religious ones were preparing for a synagogue service to worry about the people at the door. So often our arms are so loaded down or our minds occupied that we ignore the stranger or the family member that is seeking faith, joy, or reconciliation.

A parish discovered this truth at their midnight mass one year in a dramatic way. As the community arrived for worship they found a disheveled couple on the steps of the church begging. …