Wishing all my readers a blessed and merry Christmas!
I've received a few emails from folks who are homebound who would like to attend church online. There's a link to a Christmas Eve service - and a daily online Catholic Mass right here. Also feel free to ask on Twitter via #chosocm for information about online services for all denominations. It's a diverse group of folks who use social media to minister online and offer podcasts, websites, Pinterest and Facebook pages - I could go on and on.
And I'd like to share about the message in the sermon I heard yesterday. It's my interpretation but I hope there's a Christmas message in there somewhere for those who are missing services. If you didn't get any gifts today, this is my gift to you.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend services at Trinity Episcopal Church yesterday with friends - before the snow and rain hit. One of my favorite lines from the sermon was when the rector spoke about how the innkeeper wondered why Joseph and Mary and others seeking a room didn't use online services like Priceline.
He spoke at length about how the innkeeper judged Mary and Joseph - a couple who clearly looked poor, Mary who was so very pregnant and about to give birth - and felt 'these type of people' would be more comfortable out in the humble stable. In the morning, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were gone. The innkeeper, of course, didn't know who they really were.
Many of us in the disability community know what it's like being judged by our outward appearances - when people speak to those with us, instead of directing questions at us because they assume a physical disability includes a cognitive one; being treated as if we're in the way, even in God's house - the list goes on and on. We can relate to Mary and Joseph being turned away on a cold winter night when they were desperately in need of hospitality, a warm meal, a welcoming place.
We too have been relegated at times to the equivalent of a stable. Perhaps we're turned down for that job because a potential employer just won't give us a chance. Or renting an apartment because a landlord is afraid of us. Or a relationship. "No," the person says to us, "you may not come into my 'inn' because your type doesn't belong here."
And if that happens, no matter how much people tell us 'things are better', it hurts when we meet the 'innkeepers' of the world.
But here's the miracle - we also know that being 'sent to the stable' to make do didn't stop wonderful events from happening. Christ was born. Visitors found Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the stable, bringing them magnificent gifts. It didn't matter where these events happened - or even how. And you know why? Because God knew where they were. God knows where all of us are and each of us is just as important to him, no matter how the world may treat us at times. We are all his children.
So if you don't have transportation to get to church, or can't leave your home because your wheelchair is broken, or the weather prevents you from getting there, if your friends and family don't come calling or send gifts, or if you're feeling hungry because your aides take the day off or you're ill or grieving or suffering from poverty or if you have nowhere to go- remember that God knows where you are. You are never lost to Him. He will visit you. He will fill your soul. And Christ, born in a stable, brought into this world and raised by humble parents who didn't have much, knows you as his brother or sister.
So don't let the innkeepers of the world get you down. Clearly they're not very good judges of character! Don't let them get in the way of seeing the wonder happen in your life.
Speaking of the unexpected moments of wonder - on a more secular note, I hope you enjoy the video below as a flash mob shows up in a food court at a mall near Christmas. Merry Christmas!