A Christmas Rejection - No Place For You

A Christmas Rejection – No Place For You

It wasnt so much a closed door, it was more a Christmas rejection. There is no place for you here.

 

I watched him as he told me he wasn’t going to his family’s Christmas party.

He had felt a lot of rejection from his family and now he couldn’t be bothered with all the politics. He was going somewhere else.

I believe he decided that ‘the corner of a rooftop’ was preferable to a delicious Christmas lunch with people who had shunned him.

It’s a version of what I think the writer of this proverb was saying.

It’s better to live alone
in the corner of an attic
than with a quarrelsome wife
in a lovely home. Proverbs 25:24

Or maybe it’s a version of what St. Kenneth Rogers of Houston, Texas sang.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’emKnow when to fold ’emKnow when to walk awayAnd know when to run The Gambler

A Christmas Rejection

Christmas time.

A time for a sprinkling of sparkle dust over a simple story.

The Bible doesn’t mention a donkey that Mary rode on.

It doesn’t describe any animals around the manger.

No record of if Jesus cried. I suspect he did – a fully human cry and a fully divine cry. (Well, that woke up some angels)

We like to beautify, sanctify, and kiss the story with fluff.

Here is a question.

Why was there no place for Mary in the inn? 

Christmas custom would say that because a census was happening and people came to register in Bethlehem that it was crowded and so no accommodation, but the text doesn’t say this.

In those days, a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 

This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

All went to their own towns to be registered. 

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.

He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7

We all need a place

Luke uses the word ‘place’ to describe a need Mary and Joseph had.

I wonder, (pure conjecture here) if Jospeh and Mary felt that there was no place in the Inn for them. That judgments had been made. Whispered gossip, non-verbal looks and glances, rejection, rudeness.

  • ‘They’re not married’
  • ‘She’s a young teenager’
  • ‘You know I heard he’s not the father.’
  • ‘I heard she said that God was the father.’

There was no place for them there. This wasn’t a welcoming environment.

In Proverbs context, we might put it this way.

It’s better to have the baby in a animal feeding box
than in a warm dry Inn with judgmental critics.

We all need a place. A place we call home.

Not just a house, but a place where ‘Everybody knows your name’ and welcomes you, regardless.

You don’t fit in

This week I saw this cartoon from David Hayward – Naked Pastor

 

You dont fit in here anymore David Hayward

I think it describes many of the experiences I have had, and I have seen in others. As you have become more round in your views and beliefs, then simply the old church style is just too square for you.

You don’t fit in.

They may not even say sorry. It may just be an outright rejection. A banishing, and excommunication.

It may be that the old ‘Inn’ is not the place for you to nurture that little infant faith of yours with all its non-square questions.

It’s not a square peg in a round hole. It’s a round peg in a square hole and the sides of the square wall are moving in to crush the roundness out of you. To assimilate you into its likeness.

I want a place where squares morph into rounds. Where rounds find a hole to fill and flourish.

Making a place

Perhaps this Christmas you are facing a sense of rejection.

That there is no place in an Inn for you.

Possibly you consider that the safest, most holy place is the corner of a rooftop or the barn out back.

I wonder if this is the Christmas that you make a place for someone you know that has felt the cold winds of rejection.

You never quite know who might turn up.

It might even be the Saviour of the world.

 

Quotes to consider

  • And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 1 Samuel 8:7
  • Only those willing to stand close enough to listen will ever hear those closest to the problem. Jim Wallis
  • A refuge is anything that protects, nurtures, or uplifts you. Life can be hard, and everyone has difficult, uncomfortable experiences. We all need refuges. What are your own? Rick Hanson 
  • Humans are neither separate from each other or from the world in which we exist.  We are bound together within a larger whole and we can never experience personal wholeness apart from embracing our place on that larger web of wholeness and belonging. David Benner
  • We live in the shelter of each other. Celtic saying

Questions to Answer

  1. Have you ever felt the cold winds of rejection? How did you cope?
  2. What makes a place ‘safe and accepting’ for you?
  3. What have we added to the Christmas story that isnt in the biblical text?

Formation Exercise

  • Make a place for someone else. Someone who might have retreated to a ‘corner of a rooftop’.

Further reading

We all Need a Third Place for Our Mental Health

14 Reasons why Angels would make terrible Mental Health Workers

Do Christmas Community Meals Really Help?

All my Christmas Blog Posts  

 

Barry Pearman

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

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