Dec. 25, 2017 - Christmas, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Do you know where the tradition of putting a candle in the window at Christmas time comes from? It is an old Irish tradition. It is a symbolic gesture to travelers that one could find shelter in the home with a candle in the window.
It is a symbol of Irish hospitality, a family’s way of welcoming Mary and Joseph and any travelers who might happen to pass by looking for a warm place to stay.
In the days when it was illegal to practice the Catholic faith in Ireland, the candles in the windows of Irish homes was also a signal to traveling priests that the home would welcome them and they could safely celebrate the traditional Catholic Christmas mass together.
The candle was a sign of welcome. Do we show welcome to our God? What would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door? Do we welcome Jesus into our homes this Christmas? Do we have room for God when God seeks to enter our hearts?
Or do we turn God away? Do we have time for God? Do we make room for God?
The good news is that God keeps knocking. God keeps waiting to be invited into our hearts into our homes and into our lives. We should pause for a moment to invite God into our hearts, into our homes and into our lives.
When we begin to make time and space for God in our lives then God comes to live with us. When we turn got away, God keeps knocking.
And so as we celebrate the birth of Jesus so many years ago and as we remember Mary and Joseph were turned away from the inn, we are reminded to welcome God this Christmas.
Yes, there should be candles in our windows. But not only in our windows, but also in our hearts and in our whole lives.
We need to invite God to come into our hearts and into our homes and into our lives this Christmas. We need to make a space for God. God will come when invited into the situations in our lives. And God will come bringing hope.
Mary and Joseph are not turned away because they are welcomed here. And so our God comes to live with us. Jesus, the Christ Child, Emmanuel, God with us.