The prophet Isaiah tells us that the coming of the Messiah is good news. Isaiah speaks of gladness, joy and rejoicing: ‘the people that walked in darkness has seen a great light.’ The people of Israel had been waiting centuries for God to send them a Saviour, and now the Prince of Peace was coming to take his seat on the throne of David. God was keeping his promise to his people.
And yet Mary and Joseph could find no room at the inn. The angels tell the shepherds that the Saviour, Christ the Lord, has been born, and that they will find him lying in a manger – in the trough where the animals’ food was kept. The Saviour came into our world and no one recognised him. Why not? A King was not expected to be born in a poor family. No one could have imagined that the Son of God would find himself homeless, not welcome anywhere.
When the Lord comes knocking at our door, he may well have the face of a stranger. He may look like the person who needs our help at an inconvenient time. He may be asking us for what we would rather not give. At Christmas, we remember that God gave us the greatest gift of all – his Son. The feast of Christmas challenges us to respond generously to God’s gift and to see the face of Christ in the stranger knocking at our door.